Online retail shows no sign of setback despite the ongoing recession, web shoppers spent over £4.2 billion with online retailers in July – 15.7% more than was spent in June and 16.8% more than July 2008. People were spending their money on clothing, footwear and accessories, where sales increased 18% month on month and 17% year on year, according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.

Online sales of electrical items also rose – up 11% from June – with twice as many men as women shopping online. Cameron McLean, of online payment service PayPal, said: ‘Men love the quick and efficient nature of the internet, especially when it comes to buying technology and gadgets.’

The research shows that men are also spending more than women online; men spent an average £2,602 over the past six months compared to £1,930 for women. However, the bad weather had a negative impact on sales of some items. Online sales of alcohol tumbled in July, as drinkers were forced to cancel picnics and barbecues due to heavy rainfall. Sales fell 15% month on month and 23% year on year.

Historically, since the  early 1990’s, online retail has been a booming sector, with over 70% growth in many years and sometimes triple figures.
Online shopping, an important component of electronic commerce, was invented in the UK in 1979. The world’s first recorded business to business sale was Thomson Holidays in 1981. The first recorded business to consumer sale was Gateshead SIS/Tesco in 1984. The world’s first recorded online shopper was Mrs Jane Snowball of Gateshead, England. During the 1980s, online shopping was also used extensively in the UK by auto manufacturers such as Ford, Peugeot-Talbot, General Motors and Nissan. From the 1990s onwards, electronic commerce would additionally include enterprise resource planning systems (ERP), data mining and data warehousing.

An early example of many-to-many electronic commerce in physical goods was the Boston Computer Exchange, a marketplace for used computers launched in 1982. An early online information marketplace, including online consulting, was the American Information Exchange, another pre Internet. online system introduced in 1991.

Until 1991, commercial enterprise on the Internet was strictly prohibited. Although the Internet became popular worldwide around 1994, it took about five years to introduce security protocols and DSL allowing continual connection to the Internet. And by the end of 2000, a lot of European and American business companies offered their services through the World Wide Web. Since then people began to associate a word “ecommerce” with the ability of purchasing various goods through the Internet using secure protocols and electronic payment services.