The story of e-commerce’s rise is familiar to anyone reading this blog post. Amazon.com began selling books over the Web in 1995. Plane tickets (Orbitz) and auctions (eBay) soon followed. Then, seemingly, so did every other product category under the sun.
Fueled by phenomenal growth over the past two decades, e-business today is big business. Global B2C sales are expected to hit nearly $1.5 trillion this year, according to eMarketer. In the U.S., Internet retailing is expected to reach nearly $500 billion by 2018, according to eMarketer.
Dive deeper into the numbers, however, and a more nuanced narrative emerges. Some product categories, such as groceries, remain tiny online. Others, such as computers and consumer electronics, have ballooned. Smartphones, TVs and PCs now comprise 22% of all online sales, according to eMarketer, and is expected to grow to $108 billion by 2018 worldwide from $66 billion this year.
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