E-commerce is an area of the digital economy that includes all financial and trade transactions carried out using computer networks, and the business processes associated with such transactions.

E-commerce includes:

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI),
Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT),
electronic money (e-cash),
electronic banking (e-banking),
electronic insurance services (e-insurance).

The first systems and methods of e-commerce are due to the emergence of sales automation technologies and the introduction of automated corporate resource management systems.

In 1960, the American companies American Airlines and IBM began to create a system for automating the procedure for reserving seats for flights. The SABRE (Semi-Automatic Business Research Environment) system has made air travel more accessible to ordinary passengers, helping them navigate fares and flights, the number of which is constantly growing. Due to the automation of the process of calculating tariffs when reserving seats, the cost of services has decreased, passenger transportation has increased. The joint project between American Airlines and IBM is one of the first examples of e-commerce.

In 1971, students at Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, using the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory's ARPANET computer network (the forerunner of the Internet), organized the sale of marijuana. Later, these transactions began to be considered the first online transactions, the beginning of e-commerce.

In 1979, Michael Aldrich demonstrated the first online shopping system.

In 1981, Thomson Holidays UK was created, the first online shopping system for businesses. 

In 1982, the French Minitel system was introduced by France Télécom throughout the country and was used for online ordering.

In 1983, the California State Legislature holds its first "e-commerce" hearing in Vulcan, California. 

In 1995, Jeff Bezos launched Amazon.com and began broadcasting the first 24-hour ad-free radio stations, Radio HK and NetRadio. In the same year, programmer Pierre Omidyar created eBay (as AuctionWeb). After 4 years, Alibaba Group was founded in China. Business.com was sold to eCompanies for US$7.5 million, which was acquired in 1997 for US$149,2001. Napster's peer-to-peer file-sharing program is launched. ATG Stores has opened the sale of decorative items for the home on the Internet. In December, Alibaba.com achieved profitability.

In 2002, eBay acquired PayPal for $1.5 billion.

In 2003, Amazon.com publishes its first annual profit.

In 2004, DHgate.com, China's first b2b online transaction platform, emerged as an incentive for other b2b platforms to move away from the yellow pages model.

In 2007, Business.com acquired by R.H. Donnelley for $345 million.

In 2015, Amazon.com accounted for more than half of all ecommerce growth, selling nearly 500 million SKUs in the United States.

In 2017: E-commerce retail sales worldwide reached $2.304 trillion, up 24.8% year-on-year.