Timeline: Key Events in the History of Online Shopping
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Timeline: Key Events in the History of Online Shopping

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The following content is sponsored by Logiq

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The History of Online Shopping

For many, it can be hard to remember the days when online shopping wasn’t an option. Yet, despite its prevalence now, online shopping is a relatively new phenomenon.

This graphic, presented by Logiq, outlines the brief history of online shopping and how it has evolved over the last few decades. We’ll also touch on how companies can get ahead in this rapidly evolving space and what it takes to remain competitive in today’s market.

Timeline: From the Late 70s to Present Day

According to BigCommerce, the first inklings of online shopping began in England, back in the late 1970s.

1970s: The Early Days

In 1979, the English inventor Michael Aldrich invented a system that allowed consumers to connect with businesses electronically. He did this by connecting a consumer’s TV to a retailer’s computer via a telephone line.

His invention was one of the first communication tools that allowed for interactive, mass communication—but it was costly, and it didn’t make sense financially for most businesses until the Internet became more widespread.

1980s: Bulletin Boards

By 1982, the world’s first eCommerce company launched. The Boston Computer Exchange (BCE) was an online marketplace for people to buy and sell used computers.

The launch of BCE predates the advent of the World Wide Web, and because of this, the company operated on a dial up bulletin board system.

1990s: The Big Dogs Begin to Emerge

By the mid-90s, the Internet had become an established hub for global communication and connection. In 1995, the most popular web browser at the time, Netscape, had around 10 million users worldwide.

That same year, Jeff Bezos launched Amazon, which at the time functioned as an online book marketplace. The company saw early signs of success—within 30 days of launching, it was shipping internationally to 45 different countries.

A few years later, an online payment system called Confinity—now known as PayPal—was born.

2000s: Monetization Goes Mainstream

When the Internet’s novelty started to wear off around the early 2000s, monetization methods and platforms started to become more sophisticated.

In 2000, Google introduced Google AdWords as an online advertising tool for businesses to promote their products. This ushered in the era of pay-per-click advertising.

Five years later, Amazon introduced its Prime membership package, which offered members perks like free rapid shipping and exclusive discounts. Prime users were (and still are) charged an annual membership fee.

2010s: That Escalated Quickly

By the 2010s, eCommerce rapidly started to pick up speed. In 2010, for the first time in online shopping history, U.S. online sales during Cyber Monday surpassed $1 billion.

Around the same time, the launch of new digital payment tools helped add fuel to the fire. For instance, the launch of Apple Pay in 2014 made it easy for consumers to pay for products directly from their iPhones.

Present day: The Future is Bright

Amidst the global pandemic, businesses were forced to close their brick-and-mortar stores, and lockdown restrictions drove consumers online. By May 2020, eCommerce sales had reached $82.5 billion, a 77% rise year-over-year.

And while the world has started to open up again, online shopping is expected to continue growing and expanding its market share—by 2023, online shopping is expected to make up 22% of total retail sales across the globe.

Marketplace Monopoly

While the future looks promising for online shopping, it’s important to note that historically, online sales haven’t been evenly distributed across the board. In fact, in 2020, just five retailers made up more than 50% of total online retail sales in America.

Vendor% of total U.S. retail eCommerce Sales (2020)
Amazon39%
Walmart5.8%
eBay4.9%
Apple3.5%
The Home Depot2.1%
Other (roughly 1.3 million companies)
44.7%

With the online world constantly evolving, it can be challenging for small to midsize businesses to keep up and remain competitive with the big players. That’s why companies like Logiq exist.

Logiq provides businesses with simplified eCommerce solutions, to help them level up their eCommerce game and stay ahead of the rapidly changing world of online shopping.

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Ranked: Emissions per Capita of the Top 30 U.S. Investor-Owned Utilities

Roughly 25% of all GHG emissions come from electricity production. See how the top 30 IOUs rank by emissions per capita.

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Emissions per Capita of the Top 30 U.S. Investor-Owned Utilities

Approximately 25% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) come from electricity generation.

Subsequently, this means investor-owned utilities (IOUs) will have a crucial role to play around carbon reduction initiatives. This is particularly true for the top 30 IOUs, where almost 75% of utility customers get their electricity from.

This infographic from the National Public Utilities Council ranks the largest IOUs by emissions per capita. By accounting for the varying customer bases they serve, we get a more accurate look at their green energy practices. Here’s how they line up.

Per Capita Rankings

The emissions per capita rankings for the top 30 investor-owned utilities have large disparities from one another.

Totals range from a high of 25.8 tons of CO2 per customer annually to a low of 0.5 tons.

UtilityEmissions Per Capita (CO2 tons per year)Total Emissions (M)
TransAlta25.816.3
Vistra22.497.0
OGE Energy21.518.2
AES Corporation19.849.9
Southern Company18.077.8
Evergy14.623.6
Alliant Energy14.414.1
DTE Energy14.229.0
Berkshire Hathaway Energy14.057.2
Entergy13.840.5
WEC Energy13.522.2
Ameren12.831.6
Duke Energy12.096.6
Xcel Energy11.943.3
Dominion Energy11.037.8
Emera11.016.6
PNM Resources10.55.6
PPL Corporation10.428.7
American Electric Power9.250.9
Consumers Energy8.716.1
NRG Energy8.229.8
Florida Power and Light8.041.0
Portland General Electric7.66.9
Fortis Inc.6.112.6
Avangrid5.111.6
PSEG3.99.0
Exelon3.834.0
Consolidated Edison1.66.3
Pacific Gas and Electric0.52.6
Next Era Energy Resources01.1

PNM Resources data is from 2019, all other data is as of 2020

Let’s start by looking at the higher scoring IOUs.

TransAlta

TransAlta emits 25.8 tons of CO2 emissions per customer, the largest of any utility on a per capita basis. Altogether, the company’s 630,000 customers emit 16.3 million metric tons. On a recent earnings call, its management discussed clear intent to phase out coal and grow their renewables mix by doubling their renewables fleet. And so far it appears they’ve been making good on their promise, having shut down the Canadian Highvale coal mine recently.

Vistra

Vistra had the highest total emissions at 97 million tons of CO2 per year and is almost exclusively a coal and gas generator. However, the company announced plans for 60% reductions in CO2 emissions by 2030 and is striving to be carbon neutral by 2050. As the highest total emitter, this transition would make a noticeable impact on total utility emissions if successful.

Currently, based on their 4.3 million customers, Vistra sees per capita emissions of 22.4 tons a year. The utility is a key electricity provider for Texas, ad here’s how their electricity mix compares to that of the state as a whole:

Energy SourceVistraState of Texas
Gas63%52%
Coal29%15%
Nuclear6%9%
Renewables1%24%
Oil1%0%

Despite their ambitious green energy pledges, for now only 1% of Vistra’s electricity comes from renewables compared to 24% for Texas, where wind energy is prospering.

Based on those scores, the average customer from some of the highest emitting utility groups emit about the same as a customer from each of the bottom seven, who clearly have greener energy practices. Let’s take a closer look at emissions for some of the bottom scoring entities.

Utilities With The Greenest Energy Practices

Groups with the lowest carbon emission scores are in many ways leaders on the path towards a greener future.

Exelon

Exelon emits only 3.8 tons of CO2 emissions per capita annually and is one of the top clean power generators across the Americas. In the last decade they’ve reduced their GHG emissions by 18 million metric tons, and have recently teamed up with the state of Illinois through the Clean Energy Jobs Act. Through this, Exelon will receive $700 million in subsidies as it phases out coal and gas plants to meet 2030 and 2045 targets.

Consolidated Edison

Consolidated Edison serves nearly 4 million customers with a large chunk coming from New York state. Altogether, they emit 1.6 tons of CO2 emissions per capita from their electricity generation.

The utility group is making notable strides towards a sustainable future by expanding its renewable projects and testing higher capacity limits. In addition, they are often praised for their financial management and carry the title of dividend aristocrat, having increased their dividend for 47 years and counting. In fact, this is the longest out of any utility company in the S&P 500.

A Sustainable Tomorrow

Altogether, utilities will have a pivotal role to play in decarbonization efforts. This is particularly true for the top 30 U.S. IOUs, who serve millions of Americans.

Ultimately, this means a unique moment for utilities is emerging. As the transition toward cleaner energy continues and various groups push to achieve their goals, all eyes will be on utilities to deliver.

The National Public Utilities Council is the go-to resource to learn how utilities can lead in the path towards decarbonization.

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The Road to Decarbonization: How Asphalt is Affecting the Planet

The U.S. alone generates ∼12 million tons of asphalt shingles tear-off waste and installation scrap every year and more than 90% of it is dumped into landfills.

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Road to Decarbonization - How Asphalt is Affecting the Planet

The Road to Decarbonization: How Asphalt is Affecting the Planet

Asphalt, also known as bitumen, has various applications in the modern economy, with annual demand reaching 110 million tons globally.

Until the 20th century, natural asphalt made from decomposed plants accounted for the majority of asphalt production. Today, most asphalt is refined from crude oil.

This graphic, sponsored by Northstar Clean Technologies, shows how new technologies to reuse and recycle asphalt can help protect the environment.

The Impact of Climate Change

Pollution from vehicles is expected to decline as electric vehicles replace internal combustion engines.

But pollution from asphalt could actually increase in the next decades because of rising temperatures in some parts of the Earth. When subjected to extreme temperatures, asphalt releases harmful greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere.

Emissions from Road Construction (Source) CO2 equivalent (%)
Asphalt 28%
Concrete18%
Excavators and Haulers16%
Trucks13%
Crushing Plant 10%
Galvanized Steel 6%
Reinforced Steel6%
Plastic Piping 2%
Geotextile1%

Asphalt paved surfaces and roofs make up approximately 45% and 20% of surfaces in U.S. cities, respectively. Furthermore, 75% of single-family detached homes in Canada and the U.S. have asphalt shingles on their roofs.

Reducing the Environmental Impact of Asphalt

Similar to roads, asphalt shingles have oil as the primary component, which is especially harmful to the environment.

Shingles do not decompose or biodegrade. The U.S. alone generates ∼12 million tons of asphalt shingles tear-off waste and installation scrap every year and more than 90% of it is dumped into landfills, the equivalent of 20 million barrels of oil.

But most of it can be reused, rather than taking up valuable landfill space.

Using technology, the primary components in shingles can be repurposed into liquid asphalt, aggregate, and fiber, for use in road construction, embankments, and new shingles.

Providing the construction industry with clean, sustainable processing solutions is also a big business opportunity. Canada alone is a $1.3 billion market for recovering and reprocessing shingles.

Northstar Clean Technologies is the only public company that repurposes 99% of asphalt shingles components that otherwise go to landfills.

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