An essay : Will eCommerce last forever?



We have seen it before the rise of offline retail.

We have also seen the rise of eCommerce.


But are we going to see the fall of eCommerce?



The number of eCommerce buyer worldwide has a stable increase of approximately 0.1 billion every year from 2014 to 2019. And the number is projected to keep going up and above at least in another 3 years, according to statista. The number is tally with the number of sales generated worldwide in the same period. So far in 2019, we have reached USD 3.535 Billion worth of sales globally.


Many shops are going digital and so many offline to eCommerce store love the idea of a mechanism that seems to be able to generate income 24/7 and that buyers can also reach to their items 24/7 as well. We all have seen more and more shops we love are now available on -insert the big ecommerce platform name here-. Furthermore, financial technology or also known commonly as Fintech is considered a trend now by some people. More eWallet, eCards and any other fintech players are joining the game.


The question that still got people asking : “is eCommerce going to last forever?” .

Let’s talk about it.


Before we head on and discuss about the answer to this question, let’s have a quick history lesson.


eCommerce has been started since 1991.

The internet was open for the commercial use in that same year. It was made possible by the invention of EFT (Electronic Fund transfer) and EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) in the 1960s and being used by a small number of people around 1970s.

At first, eCommerce works in a B2B way, then later on only became popular in 1991 where world wide web was spreading and PC became ‘more humble’. Amazon was among the first eCommerce store, but back then they were an online book shop, instead of a giant platform we know now.






Ever since the day eCommerce (B2C) started, it has been shown to grow steadily. It seems to have a lot of aspects that supports it, such as the launch of Credit Card, ATM machines, and PayPal in 1990s, help the ease of payment in eCommerce. In the same era, many big players of eCommerce also started, such as Amazon, eBay, Netflix, Zappos, and Alibaba. The 90s were a huge leap for eCommerce! Ever since then, year by year, new big players came in to join the fun.



With more supply, the more audience there is. Especially with the launch of Youtube in early 2000s, more and more people wish to try the internet. Especially with the idea of you can send letters in a matter of seconds to anyone in the whole world. It seems that internet is giving what people basically want, freedom.





According to Maslow’s Human Basic Needs theory, human needs are divided into 5 stages, which are physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualisation.



Maslow’s Human Basic Needs theory



If we use the concept of internet, internet basically falls on the esteem section where it offers freedom. However, it turns out that with eCommerce, it may actually , in a way, fulfil the foundation of human needs, the physiological.


With eCommerce, people can buy/rent house (shelter), food, clothes, and so much more that can sustain their life without the needs to step out of their comfort zone and with millions of choices out there, there is freedom.



In this modern days, eCommerce have started to cover so much of our human needs that the most important thing you need to survive is a smartphone or a computer, with internet connection. Many things are replaced digitally.

Even the conventional stores have started to adapt to the digital payment. Digital grocery shop is here. eCommerce have grown so big that it changes what’s traditional, it changes culture, it changes human behaviour.



image credit to Sonora

The nearest example that I can share is in my country, Indonesia. Back then, people pay with cash and bring a lot of cash to the market, to dine, and so many more activities. Cash is important, cash is king.

But it doesn’t necessarily like that anymore now. Non-food road side stalls and walking sellers are not that many as it used to be, because now everyone can setup their shop within minutes, from home, and be discovered by millions of people. I personally see this is a good growth and it actually solves so many problems. I haven’t got to observe how eCommerce’s impact to other countries, but what I know for sure is that eCommerce had gained popularity in many other countries especially China, US, France, Australia, and Russia, where the growth has been very significant. eCommerce projected to grow steadily by at least 16% in the next 3 years, according to eMarketer.





Other factors that may contributed in the growth of eCommerce are more payment methods enabled, government support, enhanced security, and not to mention, promotions!

Let’s take a look at the numbers. Big players like Alibaba, SEA, and Amazon are making big profit. Alibaba reported to made around USD 53 billion in 2019, Amazon made around USD 70 billion in the Q3 of 2019 and the fast growing yet young player, sea is investing up to USD 1.5 billion in Shopee. Meanwhile in Indonesia, Tokopedia is expected to have USD 15mil of annual revenue.



Big numbers!



Now, let’s back to the main question if eCommerce will last forever.


After seeing all the facts and research result, I think that eCommerce might not only last forever but also continuously grow. It may even be much easier to shop and sell especially with the technology that is continuously evolving. It is also very possible that offline retail shops are adopting the eCommerce way.


What is the eCommerce way, you asked?

We’ll have to wait and find out.


I am excited to see what the eCommerce and digital future will bring for us!



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A little side note : Thank you for reading! This is my first essay and I am looking forward to improve on my writing. Let me know if you have any feedback for me by simply click on the Live chat button on the bottom of this screen. Thank you so much!

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Leni Tjahjadi

UX Design, Copywriting, UX Writing, Marketing Visual, and Branding

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