Online Shopping 20 Years on: It Started with  the Secure Purchase of a Sting Album... now 95% of Br

Twenty years since the first item was sold online, 95 per cent of British people are now buying goods via internet retailers.

On August 11, 1994, the Sting album 'Ten Summoner's Tales' became the first online purchase for £7.74 and since then, people have taken to online shopping in their millions.

Last year, more than £91 billion was spent online and that figure is expected to surpass £100 billion this year.

Scroll down for video According to new research conducted by UK retailer Shop Direct, one in four British people now shop online at least once a week.

The rising number of people using tablets has also played a part, with one in five of the 1,000 surveyed saying they used their device to shop and one in ten using a smartphone.

Such is the enthusiasm for digital shopping, more than 25 per cent said they shop online in bed, while one in 20 said part of their morning commute involves some virtual window shopping.

Interestingly, the most commonly purchased online item are books, which make up 64 per cent of online buys. This was followed by clothes and accessories with 59.6 per cent, music and entertainment with 55.7 per cent, electronics 54.3 per cent and holiday and travel 50.3 per cent.

The rise of online shopping has also been quite rapid, as on average most Brits did not start to use the web for shopping until 2005 and only 12 per cent doing so before the turn of the century.

Fiona Ellis Chadwick, senior lecturer in retail management at The Open University Business School, said: 'The early days of online shopping were very basic and the customer experience wasn't fantastic.

'Few Brits had a computer and those that did had very slow internet access, which would take a long time to load an image let alone order a product.

'The customer experience has drastically changed since 1994.

'In the early days of online shopping, we would go to the high street and look through various shops and choose from what was on offer.

'Now that the whole online shopping industry has come alive, we can save time and money by undertaking the research from the comfort of our own homes and ordering for a time that suits us.'

Online Shopping 20 Years on: It Started with  the Secure Purchase of a Sting Album... now 95% of Br 1

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