Since the 1990s, online marketplaces have become a standard part of life. Beginning with companies like Book Stacks Unlimited (launched in 1992) and Amazon and eBay (both launched in 1995), the online sector for retail and services has boomed.
Globalization has led to the availability of the internet, which in turn allows a diverse range of products and services to be sold online. Merchandise, in particular, saw a boom from 2000-2014 with an annual growth of 25%. While this applies only to online merchandise retail, it’s a strong representation of comparable growth within the service and entertainment sectors.
Like online retail, gaming and service-based online platforms (such as a higher education learning program) have also seen a recent boom. While certain entertainment sectors have also been correlated with a high risk of cybercrime, more cybersecurity firms have been established to help address these concerns.
Gaming in the Online Sector
Gaming has gone online. In 2018 in the United States, digital video games surpassed the sales of physical games 83% to 17% respectively. More and more games are moving into the online sector and are being accessed through internet browsers.
The two largest online gaming demographics are found in North American and the Asia Pacific, which were estimated to account for 78% of the total worldwide revenue from gaming in 2017. Looking closer at this sector, MMOG (massively multiplayer online games) is estimated to be worth $18,967 million by 2024 in the US alone. This includes games like World of Warcraft and Fortnite.
However, other sectors like mobile gaming and online betting put MMOGs to shame. Online gaming worldwide is set to reach $94 billion by 2024, with sites like PokerStars Casino leading the way when it comes to user experience, design, and entertainment value. Meanwhile, current estimates project mobile gaming to be worth $76.7 billion USD worldwide by the end of this year.Commerce in the Online Sector
As mentioned in the introduction, the online sector for retail and merchandise was one of the very first iterations of e-commerce. Since the mid-1990s, this industry has ballooned. Amazon and Rakuten are some of the leading global e-commerce sites.
In 2019, Amazon brought in $141.25 billion USD worldwide. Otto Group, which is a German competitor to Amazon and one of the largest e-commerce sites in the world, brought in $9.09 billion in the same year.As e-commerce becomes standard in even the most remote locations, the industry will continue to see more segmentation. Types of goods sold are divided between physical goods, digital goods, and services. These interactions can occur between businesses, businesses and consumers, consumers to consumers (such as eBay), business to administration, and consumer to administration.
By clearly defining the market, research into e-commerce can be properly utilized in like-to-like comparisons between companies. It will also help a company specify their own demographic so that they can stand out in saturated marketplaces like Amazon or Otto Group.
Higher Education in the Online Sector
The majority of the online education sector is run by academic institutions that have successfully adapted their education models into an online platform. However, there has been a recent inundation of options beyond academic institutions when it comes to higher education online.
In 2019, the global online education sector was worth $187.877 billion. The average annual growth is set at 9.23%, which means this sector is set to balloon to a worth of $319.167 billion by 2025.
Higher education in the online sector has been adopted by many major universities worldwide. In particular, the University of Berkeley in California has partnered with leading online education platform edX to provide students with additional free content.
George Washington University in Maryland also recently launched its own unique Learning Management System (LMS) that allows students and alumni to access and register for certain training opportunities and personal development.
Much like the gaming sector’s MMOG, the online education sector has its own MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses). The advent of free online education has led to further segmentation of the academic sector of online education, which is growing to include free education.
Another major segment of the online education sector is catered to corporations that seek to onboard new employees seamlessly.