E-commerce has seen a rapid pace of growth worldwide in both developed and developing countries. With increasing internet penetration and use of personal computers and mobile devices, more and more consumers now have the opportunity to purchase goods and services they want online. In terms of the projected sales for 2015,1 China remains the biggest e-commerce market (US$562.66B) followed by the United States of America (US$349.06B) and the United Kingdom (US$93.89B).
In a study conducted by Nielsen, non-consumable products such as clothing, airline ticket, hotel reservations and event tickets are the most prominent categories.2 For some products like electronic devices, sporting goods and even vehicles, consumers still prefer to purchase them in a brick-and-mortar setting rather than online since some of these products require physical inspection and in-store trial. However, more consumers often use the internet to compare prices and technical specifications and read the reviews of other people before deciding which specific product to buy.
The contribution of e-commerce to economic development is now widely recognized. It may be for this reason that recently concluded trade agreements and those that are currently on the negotiating table have devoted a separate chapter on e-commerce. As countries push for cross-border e-commerce, discussions in international engagements are focused on the development of a harmonized legal framework for e-commerce.
1– Keith, M. (2015, September 2). Global E-commerce Sales, Trends and Statistics 2015. Retrieved October 26, 2015, from http://www.remarkety.com/global-ecommerce-sales-trends-and-statistics-2015
2– Nielsen Holdings N.V (2015, August). E-commerce - Evolution or Revolution in the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods World (August 2014). Retrieved October 26, 2015, from http://ir.nielsen.com/files/doc_financials/Nielsen-Global-E-commerce-Report-August-2014.pdf