featured image: a guide to e-commerce spelling and its history

How to spell Ecommerce? Or is it e-commerce? The right way to spell it today.

There are many different ways to spell “ecommerce.” But Which is the right way to spell it? The answer is…it depends. Ecommerce has been around for many years, and the spelling has changed over time.

In this article, we will explore the history of ecommerce spelling and discuss the different variations in use. We’ll also answer the right spelling of the word.

Different spellings for ecommerce

The term ‘ecommerce’ has been around since the ’90s when digital commerce took off. It’s an abbreviation for electronic commerce. The word’s popularity comes from its use as a descriptor for the growing trend of online shopping. As more and more consumers turned to the internet to buy, businesses began to adopt ‘ecommerce’ to describe their online presence.

Over time, different spellings of the word have emerged. For businesses, the choice of spelling often comes down to personal preference or branding strategy.

A quick Google search shows some of the most common ways to spell ecommerce:

  • Ecommerce
  • E-commerce
  • eCommerce
  • e-commerce
  • e-Commerce
  • ECommerce
  • e commerce

These are just 7 versions, but you’ll find many more once you start digging.

Why do so many spellings exist?

While the exact origins of the word are unclear, it came into use in the early 1990s. When businesses started using the internet for transactions.

Since its an internet native term, people have created many variations. Some versions include hyphenations. Others capitalize either C or E. At first, there was no standard spelling for “ecommerce,” and people used whatever version they preferred. Over time, the two most popular spellings emerged as “e-commerce” and “eCommerce.”

Another reason for non-standardized spelling is clear when you compare the word’s history with email.

Email started out as “electronic mail” in the 1970s and took on variations like “e-mail,” and “email.” In 2011, the Associated Press standardized the word’s spelling as “email.”

APS 2011 tweet standardizing email spelling

This decision was based on many factors, including that “email” is the spelling used most often in dictionaries. And that it’s the preferred spelling of most major style guides. This led to a single spelling for “email”.

Using similar logic, you’d think AP would’ve chosen ecommerce over e-commerce. But They say:

“AP uses hyphenated e- for generic terms such as e-commerce and e-strategies. One exception is email (no hyphen, which reflects use). For company names, use their preference: eBay.”

While AP chose to hyphenate the word, many brands and major companies have dropped it. This mixed-use is another reason why we have so many spellings for ecommerce.

Dictionary definitions

We saw how AP spells ecommerce, let’s look at some other popular dictionaries’ approaches.


Merriam-Webster dictionary spelling of e-commerce

Merriam-Webster, like AP stylebook, also adds a hyphen after e to spell ecommerce.

Oxford Dictionary

Oxford Dictionary e-commerce spelling

Oxford dictionary also chooses to hyphenate ecommerce.


Britannica accurate spelling of e-commerce

Britannica hyphenates ecommerce.

Collins Dictionary

Collins dictionary spelling of e-commerce

Just like the others, Collins also spells it ‘e-commerce’.

Major dictionaries add a hyphen after e when spelling ecommerce. Does that mean it’s the correct spelling? You’d do well to use this version in academic papers or formal documents. But it’s not the definitive definition. We’ll discuss that in the last section.

How do people spell Ecommerce according to Google?

Our look into ecommerce’s spelling won’t be complete without diving into how people use the word. To do this, we analyzed the word’s popularity and frequency over time using Google Trends and Google Ngram.

We used the 7 spelling variants to get some insights.

Google Ngram result of e-commerce spelling

The Ngram results show that e-commerce, followed by E-commerce, then eCommerce, has been the most popular way to spell the word in print media. The variation ‘e-commerce’ peaked in 2003, after which the frequency of the word has been in decline.

When looking at Google trends results, we chose to compare ecommerce with e-commerce as the results aren’t case sensitive.

Google trends result showing frequency of e-commerce spelling

Google Trends shows that ‘ecommerce’ surpassed ‘e-commerce’ in popularity around 2008 and has been the popular way to search for the word. This also corroborates the declining popularity of ‘e-commerce’ in print media since 2003. In a few years, we might see ecommerce as the dominant spelling for the word in all media.

For more interesting stats about ecommerce, check out our collection of ecommerce statistics.

What is the correct Ecommerce spelling?

So, considering dictionary definitions, internet use, and branding styles, what’s the correct way to spell ecommerce?

The answer is that while “e-commerce” and “ecommerce” are both technically correct, the preferred spelling can vary depending on the context. 

In general, “e-commerce” refers to the larger industry or concept, while “ecommerce” is used when referencing online transactions or businesses. For example, an article about the history of ecommerce might use the spelling “e-commerce,” while an online store would be more likely to use “ecommerce.” 

The choice of spelling is up to the individual author or organization. It’s important to be consistent throughout a piece of writing. Using two different spellings for the same concept can confuse readers and make your work seem less credible.

Still, you should focus on growing your ecommerce business and settle spelling debates quickly with internal rules. For example, improve your shopping experience and get more return customers with great order confirmation emails.

Just getting started with ecommerce? Check out this list of the best ecommerce platforms to start your shop. If you’re a digital creator, read this Sellfy review to find out if it’s the best platform to start your online store.

Rukham Khan

Rukham Khan, is marketing writer and specialist. He writes about email, content, and lead generation tactics in an effort to help and inform entrepreneurs and small businesses. In his free time, you can find him playing squash or managing his personal blog on Medium.