It's hard to imagine a time when we could not buy things online. It was not that long ago where all of our purchases had to be made in person, by phone, or by mail. And while you can still order most products using these methods, the easiest way to buy something must be by shopping for it online. Almost every aspect of every industry has been affected by e-commerce and it will never return to the way it was.
With the dawn of ecommerce, America has switched to a service-based industry. Most manufacturing is now done outside of the US in countries like China, Japan, or Taiwan. Many of the largest companies in the United States are Internet related. A company like Google has no tangible products but makes billions of dollars providing information to people. Microsoft does make some physical products, like the Zune or the Xbox, but most of their revenue comes from the sale of software.
Ecommerce also allows companies to hire from all over the world, thus making the competition for a job an international one. Before, companies needed to hire locally, provide an office for them to work in, and pay them full time. Now companies can outsource projects and tasks to people in places like India and Russia for a fraction of the cost. This means that as more and more can be done with technology, more and more jobs will be able to be done overseas, and the job market will become more and more competitive.
Ecommerce has enabled more people to start a business. For about $ 20 anyone can have a website up and running within 24 hours. This is an unpreceded time in human history. Never before has it been so easy for the average person to become an entrepreneur. It has also made it easier for people to get their 15 minutes of fame. All one has to do is do something silly on camera and submit it to YouTube. If it goes viral you could become an Internet celebrity and enjoy a moderate amount of fame.
Baby boomers have embroidered online shopping and are probably the ones that remember what it was like in a world with no Internet. They spend the majority of their adult life without the Internet, but still have no trouble making online purchases. This trend should continue as they get older and older, and require more and more services. The online ecommerce industry should have no problem growing for at least the next 20 years.