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Two decades of shopping online achieved

21 August 2014 - 12:24 by Graham Miller

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Last week marked the 20th anniversary of the first ever digital transaction through which a product was sold online, according to the Telegraph. And this significant milestone is something that will no doubt remain a major historical event, that ushered in an era of retail in which e-commerce rose to dominate.

The online purchase which most industry experts agree was the first of its kind was at a cost of around £8, not including delivery charges. And the item in question was pop star, Sting's, album Ten Summoner's Tales, which is perhaps one of the more surprising facts relating to this much loved musician.

In the UK, the ability to carry out safe shopping online has been especially enthusiastically embraced by consumers, with a recent Shop Direct study finding that 95 per cent of people now use the web to make purchases on a regular basis. Close to a quarter of people do so at least once a week and the market is still growing as we speak.

Consumer electronics, books and fashion items are amongst the most popular products to be purchased online by consumers, although, of course, almost anything else you can think of is also available in some form or another if you scour the web for it.

The study also found that the use of desktop and laptop computers to shop online still trumps tablet and smartphone shopping, although the rise of m-commerce is still ongoing and the balance could shift further towards portable devices in the future.

In another 20 years it will be interesting to see how the market has changed from its current state. And the biggest question that remains is whether, by this point, high street sales will have been completely eclipsed by e-commerce activities.