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The Birth of E-Commerce

Twenty years ago, someone ordered a large pepperoni pizza with mushrooms and extra cheese at Pizza Hut. Nothing unusual about that, except that the order was placed online in what’s believed to be the first-ever e-commerce transaction. From there, the e-commerce sales industry climbed (and is still climbing) to enormous heights.

E-commerce sales in the U.S. reached $263.3 billion in 2013, up almost 17 percent from the previous year, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates. That figure represents 5.8 percent of total sales in the U.S. Globally, e-commerce accounts for an estimated $1.3 trillion in sales.

The biggest driver of e-commerce growth is the adoption of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.

In the U.S., the manufacturing sector is the largest contributor to e-commerce sales (49.3 percent of total shipments), followed by merchant wholesalers (24.3 percent of total sales), according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Retailers generated 4.7 percent of their revenues online, while service providers’ online sales accounted for 3 percent of their revenues.

 

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