E-commerce, or the buying and selling of goods and services over the internet, started to gain popularity in the mid-1990s with the rise of the World Wide Web. The first e-commerce transactions were conducted through simple electronic data interchange (EDI) systems, which allowed businesses to exchange data and documents with each other.
However, the real breakthrough for e-commerce came with the introduction of secure online payment systems, such as PayPal and Amazon Payments, which made it easier and safer for consumers to purchase goods and services online. This, coupled with the growing availability of broadband internet and mobile devices, led to a surge in e-commerce activity in the early 2000s.
Since then, e-commerce has become increasingly popular, with many traditional brick-and-mortar stores expanding their online presence or even transitioning to fully online businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic also accelerated the growth of e-commerce as more people turned to online shopping to avoid in-person contact.