In 1994, e-commerce as we now know it did not exist. In 2005, just ten years later, around 110 million American consumers are expected to spend about $142–$172 billion purchasing products and services on the Internet’s World Wide Web (eMarketer, Inc., 2005b; Shop.org and Forrester Research, 2005; Rainie, 2005). Although the terms Internet and World Wide Web are often used interchangeably, they are actually two very different things.
The Internet is a worldwide network of computer networks, and the World Wide Web is one of the Internet’s most popular services, providing access to over 8 billion Web pages. We describe both more fully later in this section and in Chapter 3. In 2005, businesses are expected to spend over $1.5 trillion purchasing goods and services from other businesses on the Web (U.S. Department of Commerce, 2005).
From a standing start in 1995, this type of commerce, called electronic commerce or e-commerce, has experienced growth rates of well over 100% a year; although the rate has slowed and is now growing at about 25% a year. These developments have created the first widespread digital electronic marketplaces. Even more impressive than its spectacular initial growth is its future predicted growth. By 2008, analysts estimate that consumers will be spending around $232 billion and businesses about $3 trillion in online transactions (eMarketer, Inc., 2005a; 2003; U.S. Department of Commerce, 2005)
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