Online Shopping Turns 20 Years Old This Week. Yes, Really.

#ThrowbackThursday, indeed.

The year was 1994. Diana and Charles were still married (pretty much, anyway). Blur’s Parklife was number one and Clarissa was still doing a really good job of explaining it all.

And at a normal guy’s home in Philadelphia, the first ever ‘secure online purchase’ was successfully made. The product of choice? Sting’s album Ten Summoner’s Tales, sold for $12.48 (plus shipping) on ecommerce site NetMarket.com. Cyber-nerds in New Hampshire rejoiced – their secure encryption service was working and ready for transactions.

Yes it really has been 20 years since the birth of the online shopping mega-industry, now worth over £100 billion each year in the UK alone according to IMRG and Capgemini. The ecommerce experience has evolved dramatically, from single page stores with pixel-tastic pictures, to seamless retailing where you can even insta-shop directly from movies.

Remember when you thought you’d never trust the elusive internet with your credit card details? New stats obtained by UK retailer Shop Direct show that 95% of Britons now shop online, with one in four doing it at least once a week.

Are we grateful for the invention? Yes, of course. But our bank balances are all the lesser because of it…

To celebrate this major #ThrowbackThursday moment, here’s 7 other amazing things we can’t believe happened 20 years ago this year.

1. The first episode of Friends aired.


2. Nelson Mandela became President of South Africa.

3. Kate and Johnny got together.


4. The Spice Girls were formed.


5. Husband and wife Gianni and Consuelo Castiglioni founded Italian fashion house Marni.

6. The Channel Tunnel opened.

7. Disney released hand-drawn animated movie The Lion King.

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