|“||Although primarily an economic phenomenon, electronic commerce forms part of a broader process of social change, characterized by the globalization of markets, the shift towards an economy based on knowledge and information, and the growing prominence of all forms of technology in everyday life.||”|
E-commerce (also called electronic commerce or digital commerce) is
|“||any transaction conducted over the Internet or through Internet access, comprising the sale, lease, license, offer, or delivery of property, goods, services, or information, whether or not for consideration, and includes the provision of Internet access.||”|
|“||any business transaction whose price or essential terms were negotiated over an online system such as an Internet, Extranet, Electronic Data Interchange network, or electronic mail system. It does not include transactions negotiated via facsimile machine or switched telephone network, or payments made online for transactions whose terms were negotiated offline.||”|
|“||encompasses all aspects of buying and selling electronically, including marketing end-to-end transactions with consumers, and on-line auctions. It is transacted through a variety of technologies, including electronic data interchange, electronic mail, electronic funds transfer, and Web-based applications.||”|
|“||[t]he production, advertising, sale and distribution of products via telecommunications networks.||”|
|“||includes any transaction for the sale or purchase of goods and services conducted over computer networks by methods specifically designed for the purpose of receiving or placing of order.||”|
|“||the sale or purchase of goods or services, conducted over computer networks by methods specifically designed for the purpose of receiving or placing of orders. The goods or services are ordered by those methods, but the payment and the ultimate delivery of the goods or services do not have to be conducted online. An e-commerce transaction can be between enterprises, households, individuals, governments, and other public or private organisations. To be included are orders made over the web, extranet or electronic data interchange. The type is defined by the method of placing the order. To be excluded are orders made by telephone calls, facsimile or manually typed e-mail."||”|
Electronic commerce has delivered enormous benefits for consumers. Prices have dropped due to the ease of Internet comparison shopping. The marketplace has expanded as barriers to entry have diminished and buyers and sellers easily link up through websites such as eBay. And transactions are now quickly and conveniently conducted from a home computer, without the hassle of waiting in a line, holding on the telephone, or mailing a check.
Economic growth in e-commerce
Between 1999 and 2007, the United States economy enjoyed an increase of over 500% in business-to-consumer online commerce. Taking into account business-to-business transactions, online commerce in 2007 accounted for over $3 trillion dollars in revenue for U.S. companies. The economic benefits provided by the information economy increased even during our economic downturn. During 2008, industry analysts estimate that sales of the top 100 online retailers grew 14.3%. In contrast, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates a 0.9% decrease in total retail sales over that time period.
Global online transactions currently total an estimated $10 trillion annually. In the United States alone, according to the U.S. Census, domestic online transactions are currently estimated to total $3.7 trillion annually. In 2009 alone, online retail sales accounted for over $140 billion in retail sales for U.S. companies.
In 2009, U.S. mobile commerce sales grew over 200% compared to the previous year, reaching $1.2 billion. Analysts expect this growth to continue in 2010, projecting $2.4 billion in mobile commerce. Online sales growth and expanding information systems are creating new jobs focused on the information economy and directly impacting the nation's economic recovery.
In addition to the growth of online commerce, the Internet, the World Wide Web, and associated information systems have lead to an unprecedented growth in productivity over the last decade. More businesses are using the Internet to provide electronic records to customers and trading partners, and enterprises are shifting to a digital back office and greener business environment.
Sustaining the growth of digital commerce and U.S. commerce generally will require continued innovation in how information is used and shared across the Internet. Commerce today depends on online communication and the transmission of significant amounts of data.
Importance of digital content
E-commerce and investment in information systems continue to create new jobs in the Internet economy and to contribute to national economic recovery. An important component of the growth in e-commerce is the rapid increase in the sale of digital content across the creative industries. For example, sales of digital music downloads in the United States were estimated to reach $3.1 billion in 2009, a 19% increase above 2008 sales. Likewise, revenues derived from the sale of online videos were estimated to reach $1.2 billion in 2008, and are expected to climb to $4.5 billion by 2012. In 2009, revenues from the sale of e-books were estimated at $313 million, 177% above sales from the previous year and, for the first time ever, exceeding revenues from the sale of audiobooks. The popularity of online games is also on the rise, with a forecast to double 2009's $2.8 billion in online sales by 2015. As these data suggest, the availability and consumption of a wide range of lawful online creative works are increasing rapidly and contribute an increasingly important component of national e-commerce growth.
Consumers have expressed concern regarding new or unexpected uses of their personal information by online applications. Since e-commerce is dependent on consumer participation, consumers must be able to trust that their personal information is protected online and securely maintained. At the same time, companies need clear policies that enable the continued development of new business models and the free flow of data across state and international borders in support of domestic and global trade.
- The Economic and Social Impact of Electronic Commerce: Preliminary Findings and Research Agenda, at 143.
- 47 U.S.C. §151 sec. 1004(3) (1998).
- U.S. Census Bureau, Glossary (full-text).
- Electronic Commerce: Small Business Participation in Selected On-line Procurement Programs, at 1 n.2.
- DOHA WTO Ministerial 2001: Glossary of Terms.
- Electronic and Mobile Commerce, at 6.
- Electronic and Mobile Commerce, at 38 n.2.
- U.S. Census Bureau, "E-Stats" (May 28, 2009).
- Mark Brohan, "The Top 500 Guide," Internet Retailer (June 2009).
- U.S. Census Bureau, "Quarterly Retail E-Commerce Sales: 4th Quarter 2008," Feb. 16, 2010, Table 4.
- Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), The Internet Economy 25 Years After .com (Mar. 15, 2010) (full-text).
- U.S. Census Bureau, "E-Stats" (May 27, 2010) (full-text).
- U.S. Census Bureau, "E–Stats" (May 28, 2009), at 2 (full-text).
- "U.S. M-Commerce Sales to Hit $2.4 Billion This Year, ABI Research Says," Internet Retailer (Feb. 16, 2010).
- Executive Office of the President, Council of Economic Advisors, 2010 Economic Report of the President, Ch. 10 (Feb. 2010).
- Remarks of Gary Locke, Secretary of Commerce, Privacy and Innovation Symposium (May 7, 2010) (full-text).
- OECD Information Technology Outlook 2008, at 250 (2008). The fair use of copyrighted works is also believed to contribute to the Internet economy. See Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), "Fair Use in the U.S. Economy: Economic Contribution of Industries Relying on Fair Use," at 4, 8 (2010) (full-text).
- Joshua P. Friedlander, Recording Indus. Association of America (RIAA), 2009 Year-End Shipment Statistics (full-text).
- Press Release, "In-Stat, Explosive Growth Forecast in Online Video Market, Netflix Subscription Model Wins" (Aug. 13, 2008) (full-text).
- Press Release, Association of American Publishers, "AAP Reports Book Sales Estimated at $23.9 Billion in 2009" (Apr. 7, 2010).
- Press Release, Pike & Fischer, "U.S. Online Game Subscribers to More than Double in Five Years, Pike & Fischer Projects" (Jan. 28, 2010) (full-text).
- 2007 Stocktake of Electronic Commerce Activities in APEC
- A Borderless World: Realising the Potential of Global Electronic Commerce
- A Framework for Global Electronic Commerce
- Addressing Disputes in Electronic Commerce
- Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce
- Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce Report to Congress
- Affiliate fraud
- Affiliate marketing
- Affiliate network
- Affiliate program
- Alliance for Electronic Business
- Amazon Tax
- Anonymous transaction
- Asia Pacific Council for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business
- Auction fraud
- Auction fraud-Romania
- Auction sniping
- APEC Blueprint for Action on Electronic Commerce
- Australian E-commerce Best Practice Model
- B2B exchange
- Best Practice Examples Under the OECD Guidelines on Consumer Protection in the Context of E-commerce
- Beyond Voice: Mapping the Mobile Marketplace
- Bid shielding
- Bid siphoning
- Bringing e-commerce benefits to consumers
- Building Trust in the Online Environment: Report of Conference on Business-to-Consumer Dispute Resolution
- Center for E-Commerce
- Center For Global Electronic Commerce
- Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies
- Code of Online Business Practices
- Commercial service provider
- Commission on E-business, IT and Telecoms
- Commission on the Digital Economy
- Communications and Electronic Commerce Tax Project
- Communications and Electronic Commerce Tax Project: Final Report
- Comparison shopping
- Consumer Protection in E-Commerce Working Group
- Consumer Protection in the Global Electronic Marketplace: Looking Ahead
- Consumer Protection Rights in Canada in the Context of Electronic Commerce
- Country-of-destination rule
- Cryptography Standards and Infrastructures for the Twenty-First Century
- Cyber economy
- Declaration on Global Electronic Commerce
- Digital distribution
- Digital economy
- Digital Single Market
- Digitized goods
- Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market
- Directive 2009/110/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 on the taking up, pursuit and prudential supervision of the business of electronic money institutions
- E-Commerce Directive
- E-Commerce Guide for Credit Unions
- E-Commerce Regulations of 2002
- E-commerce site
- EDI trading partner
- EFT and the Public Interest
- EFT in the United States: Policy Recommendations and the Public Interest
- Electronic agent
- Electronic and Mobile Commerce
- Electronic banking
- Electronic Bill Presentation and Payment
- Electronic business
- Electronic Commerce in the NII
- Electronic Commerce and the Role of the WTO
- Electronic Commerce Benchmarking National and Regional E-business Policies in Support of SMEs: Presentation of the Final Results: The European Commission DG Enterprise Initiative
- Electronic Commerce Business Impacts Project
- Electronic Commerce Europe
- Electronic Commerce Resource Center
- Electronic Commerce Steering Group
- Electronic Commerce through Electronic Data Interchange
- Electronic Commerce Working Group
- Electronic Data Interchange
- Electronic Data Interchange Association
- Electronic Enterprises: Looking to the Future
- Electronic Fund Transfer Act of 1978
- Electronic Money Institutions: Current Trends, Regulatory Issues and Future Prospects
- Electronic payment system
- Electronic Retailing Association
- Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program
- Electronic transaction
- Electronic Transactions Act 1999
- Electronic Transactions Amendment Act 2011
- Empowering E-consumers: Strengthening Consumer Protection in the Internet Economy
- Entering the 21st Century: Competition Policy in the World of B2B Electronic Marketplaces
- European Union E-Commerce Law Project
- Government and Private Sector Initiatives to Promote and Implement the OECD Guidelines for Consumer Protection in the Context of Electronic Commerce
- Guidelines on the Definition of the Place of Consumption in the Context of E-commerce
- Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Information and Communications Technologies, Services, and Electronic Commerce
- International electronic commerce
- International Electronic Commerce: Definitions and Policy Implications
- Internet Auctions: A Guide for Buyers and Sellers
- Internet economy
- Internet Pharmacies: Most Rogue Sites Operate from Abroad, and Many Sell Counterfeit Drugs
- Internet pharmacy
- Internet retailer
- Internet Tax Freedom Act of 1998
- Internet tax moratorium
- Inventory of Consumer Protection Laws, Policies and Practices Applied to Electronic Commerce
- ITunes Store
- Joint Electronic Commerce Program Office
- Joint Statement from Australia and the United States on Electronic Commerce
- Legal Issues Related to Prescription Drug Sales on the Internet
- Legal Provisions Related to Business-to-Consumer Alternative Dispute Resolution in Relation to Privacy and Consumer Protection
- Mobile commerce
- Mobile entertainment
- National Commission on Electronic Fund Transfers
- National Electronic Commerce Coordinating Council
- National Office for the Information Economy
- New Era of Smarter Food Safety Summit on E-Commerce: Ensuring the Safety of Foods Ordered Online and Delivered Directly to Consumers
- North American Consumer Project on Electronic Commerce
- OECD Policy Guidance for Addressing Emerging Consumer Protection and Empowerment Issues in Mobile Commerce
- Office of Technology and Electronic Commerce
- Online payment
- Online retailer
- Online services, including e-commerce, in the Single Market
- Online store
- Paper, Plastic . . . or Mobile? An FTC Workshop on Mobile Payments
- Prescription Drug Sales on the Internet
- Principles of Consumer Protection for Electronic Commerce: A Canadian Framework
- Process e-commerce
- Recommendations of the OECD Council Concerning Guidelines for Consumer Protection in the Context of Electronic Commerce
- Recommendation on Consumer Dispute Resolution and Redress
- Remote sale
- Remote seller
- Report on the Legal System of Electronic Commerce
- Resolving Disputes Online: Best Practices for Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) in B2C and C2C Transactions
- Restore Online Shoppers' Confidence Act
- Risk Management for Electronic Banking and Electronic Money Activities
- Secure Online Shopping Association
- Secure payment gateway
- Selected Electronic Funds Transfer Issues: Privacy, Security, and Equity
- Shill bidding
- Shopping agent
- Shopping cart
- State Sales Tax on Internet Purchases
- State Sales Taxation of Internet Transactions
- State Taxation of Internet Transactions
- Study Group for the Legal System on Electronic Commerce
- Survey of Developments in Electronic Money and Internet and Mobile Payments
- Task Force on Electronic Commerce and Alternative Dispute Resolution
- The Economic and Social Impact of Electronic Commerce: Preliminary Findings and Research Agenda
- The Emerging Digital Economy
- The Emerging Digital Economy II
- The Internet Economy 25 Years After .Com: Transforming Commerce & Life
- The Risk of Criminal Exploitation of Online Auctions
- Trade Policy Aspects of Electronic Commerce: Online Product Customisation
- Trading partner agreement
- Transaction e-commerce
- U.N. Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts
- UNCITRAL Electronic Commerce Working Group
- UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce
- United Nations Rules for Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce, and Transport
- U.S. Department of Justice Electronic Commerce Working Group
- U.S. Government Working Group on Electronic Commerce
- U.S. Government Working Group on Electronic Commerce: First Annual Report
- U.S. Postal Service: Update on E-Commerce Activities and Privacy Protections
- VAT on E-Commerce Directive
- Vertical portal
- Vertical Restraints for On-line Sales
- Web store
- Working Group on Electronic Commerce and Consumers
- WTO, E-Commerce and Information Technologies: From the Uruguay Round to the Doha Development Agenda
- WTO Work Programme on Electronic Commerce