E commerce or electronic commerce is the trading or facilitation of trading in products or services using computer networks like internet or online social networks. eCommerce draws on technologies like mobile commerce, electronics fund transfer, Supply chain management, internet marketing, online transaction processing, electronic data interchange (EDI), inventory management systems and automated data collection systems.

Governmental regulation:

In USA, certain electronic commerce activities are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). These activities include but not limited to the use of commercial emails, online advertising and consumer privacy. The CAN-SPAM act of 2003 establishes national standards for direct marketing over email. The FTC act regulates all forms of advertising and states that advertising must be truthful and non-deceptive. The FTC has brought a number of cases to enforce the promises in corporate privacy statements, including promises about the security of consumers’ personal information. Hence any corporate privacy policy related to e-commerce activity may be subjected to enforcement by FTC.


Conflict of laws in cyberspace is a major road block for harmonization of legal framework for e-commerce around the globe. To give a uniformity to e-commerce law around the world, many countries are adopting the UNCITRAL Model Law on e-commerce (1996).

Internationally there is the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN), that was formed in 1991, from an informal network of government customer fair trade organizations. The main purpose was to find ways of co-operating on tackling consumer problems related to cross border transactions in goods and services and to help ensure exchanges of information among the participants for their mutual benefit and understanding.


Contemporary e-commerce involves everything from ordering “digital” content for immediate online consumption, to ordering goods and services, to “meta” services to facilitate other types of e-commerce. At the institutional level, big companies and financial institutions use the internet to exchange financial data to facilitate any kind of business dealings. The pressing issues for e-commerce are security and data integrity.


Apart from e-commerce, the terms m-commerce (Mobile commerce) and t-commerce have been used.

Global trends:

In the year 2010, UK had biggest e-commerce market, in the whole world, when measured by the amount spent per capita. As of 2013, the Czech republic (a European country) where e-commerce delivers the biggest contribution to the total revenue. A quarter of the country’s total turnover is generated through online channel.

China is not far behind. With 668 million internet users, China’s online shopping sales touched $253 billion in the first half of 2015. The Chinese retailers have made the consumers feel more and more comfortable shopping online. Electronic commerce transactions between China and other countries increased to 2.3 trillion Yuan ($375.8 billion) in the year 2012 and accounted for 9.6% of China’s total intl. Trade in 2013. Alibaba had an e-commerce market share of 80% in China. In the year 2014, there were 600 million internet users in China, making it the largest e-commerce market in the world.


In 2013, Brazil’s e-commerce was growing rapidly with retail e-commerce sales expected to grow at a good double digit pace in 2014. By 2016, e marketer expected retail e-commerce sales in Brazil to touch $17.3 billion.

Now coming to India, this sub continent has an internet user base of about 243.2 million as of January 2014. In India, cash on delivery is the most preferred payment method, grossing over 75% of the e-retail activities.

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