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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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An Introduction to MSCI ESG Indexes

With an extensive suite of ESG indexes on offer, MSCI aims to support investors as they build a more personalized and resilient portfolio.

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An Introduction to MSCI ESG Indexes

There are various portfolio objectives within the realm of sustainable investing.

For example, some investors may want to build a portfolio that reflects their personal values. Others may see environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria as a tool for improving long-term returns, or as a way to create positive impact. A combination of all three of these motivations is also possible.

To support investors as they embark on their sustainable journey, our sponsor, MSCI, offers over 1,500 purpose-built ESG indexes. In this infographic, we’ll take a holistic view at what these indexes are designed to achieve.

An Extensive Suite of ESG & Climate Indexes

Below, we’ll summarize the four overarching objectives that MSCI’s ESG & climate indexes are designed to support.

Objective 1: Integrate a broad set of ESG issues

Investors with this objective believe that incorporating ESG criteria can improve their long-term risk-adjusted returns.

The MSCI ESG Leaders indexes are designed to support these investors by targeting companies that have the highest ESG-rated performance from each sector of the parent index.

For those who do not wish to deviate from the parent index, the MSCI ESG Universal indexes may be better suited. This family of indexes will adjust weights according to ESG performance to maintain the broadest possible universe.

Objective 2: Generate social or environmental benefits

A common challenge that impact investors face is measuring their non-financial results.

Consider an asset owner who wishes to support gender diversity through their portfolios. In order to gauge their success, they would need to regularly filter the entire investment universe for updates regarding corporate diversity and related initiatives.

In this scenario, linking their portfolios to an MSCI Women’s Leadership Index would negate much of this groundwork. Relative to a parent index, these indexes aim to include companies which lead their respective countries in terms of female representation.

Objective 3: Exclude controversial activities

Many institutional investors have mandates that require them to avoid certain sectors or industries. For example, approximately $14.6 trillion in institutional capital is in the process of divesting from fossil fuels.

To support these efforts, MSCI offers indexes that either:

  • Exclude individual sectors such as fossil fuels, tobacco, or weapons;
  • Exclude companies from a combination of these sectors; or
  • Exclude companies that are not compatible with certain religious values.

Objective 4: Identify climate risks and opportunities

Climate change poses a number of wide-reaching risks and opportunities for investors, making it difficult to tailor a portfolio accordingly.

With MSCI’s climate indexes, asset owners gain the tools they need to build a more resilient portfolio. The MSCI Climate Change indexes, for example, reduce exposure to stranded assets, increase exposure to solution providers, and target a minimum 30% reduction in emissions.

An Index for Every Objective

Regardless of your motivation for pursuing sustainable investment, the need for an appropriate benchmark is something that everyone shares.

With an extensive suite of ESG indexes designed specifically for sustainability and climate change, MSCI aims to support asset owners as they build a more unique and personalized portfolio.

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Tracked: The U.S. Utilities ESG Report Card

This graphic acts as an ESG report card that tracks the ESG metrics reported by different utilities in the U.S.—what gets left out?

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NPUC Utilities ESG Report Card Share

Tracked: The U.S. Utilities ESG Report Card

As emissions reductions and sustainable practices become more important for electrical utilities, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting is coming under increased scrutiny.

Once seen as optional by most companies, ESG reports and sustainability plans have become commonplace in the power industry. In addition to reporting what’s needed by regulatory state laws, many utilities utilize reporting frameworks like the Edison Electric Institute’s (EEI) ESG Initiative or the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards.

But inconsistent regulations, mixed definitions, and perceived importance levels have led some utilities to report significantly more environmental metrics than others.

How do U.S. utilities’ ESG reports stack up? This infographic from the National Public Utilities Council tracks the ESG metrics reported by 50 different U.S. based investor-owned utilities (IOUs).

What’s Consistent Across ESG Reports

To complete the assessment of U.S. utilities, ESG reports, sustainability plans, and company websites were examined. A metric was considered tracked if it had concrete numbers provided, so vague wording or non-detailed projections weren’t included.

Of the 50 IOU parent companies analyzed, 46 have headquarters in the U.S. while four are foreign-owned, but all are regulated by the states in which they operate.

For a few of the most agreed-upon and regulated measures, U.S. utilities tracked them almost across the board. These included direct scope 1 emissions from generated electricity, the utility’s current fuel mix, and water and waste treatment.

Another commonly reported metric was scope 2 emissions, which include electricity emissions purchased by the utility companies for company consumption. However, a majority of the reporting utilities labeled all purchased electricity emissions as scope 2, even though purchased electricity for downstream consumers are traditionally considered scope 3 or value-chain emissions:

  • Scope 1: Direct (owned) emissions.
  • Scope 2: Indirect electricity emissions from internal electricity consumption. Includes purchased power for internal company usage (heat, electrical).
  • Scope 3: Indirect value-chain emissions, including purchased goods/services (including electricity for non-internal use), business travel, and waste.

ESG Inconsistencies, Confusion, and Unimportance

Even putting aside mixed definitions and labeling, there were many inconsistencies and question marks arising from utility ESG reports.

For example, some utilities reported scope 3 emissions as business travel only, without including other value chain emissions. Others included future energy mixes that weren’t separated by fuel and instead grouped into “renewable” and “non-renewable.”

The biggest discrepancies, however, were between what each utility is required to report, as well as what they choose to. That means that metrics like internal energy consumption didn’t need to be reported by the vast majority.

Likewise, some companies didn’t need to report waste generation or emissions because of “minimal hazardous waste generation” that fell under a certain threshold. Other metrics like internal vehicle electrification were only checked if the company decided to make a detailed commitment and unveil its plans.

As pressure for the electricity sector to decarbonize continues to increase at the federal level, however, many of these inconsistencies are roadblocks to clear and direct measurements and reduction strategies.

National Public Utilities Council is the go-to resource for all things decarbonization in the utilities industry. Learn more.

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