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Europe to Get Bigger Chunk of Internet Economy

Forrester Research is predicting Europe will deliver 22 per cent of a global Internet economy expected to be worth a total of $6.9 trillion in 2004.

Forrester says Europe has a more balanced Internet economy than the Asia-Pacific region, although both have comparable online sales totals. It expects online sales in Europe in 2004 to top $1.5 trillion.

Therese Torris, director of research at Forrester Research B.V., said that European e-commerce benefits from a number of inherent strengths. It takes place in a coherent regional trading bloc and has both a strong technology infrastructure and deep connections to global supply chains.

"Despite these advantages, e-commerce will not develop in the same way or at the same rate across all countries. To achieve its full potential, European companies must be prepared to take advantage of new e-commerce opportunities, wherever they are present," noted Torris.

Improved online stores will encourage 100 million Europeans to shop online by 2004, says Forrester. However, it is the business-to-business sector that will be the real driving force behind the growth. It will account for nearly $1.4 trillion of Europe's total online trade in 2004.

Associate Analyst Matthew R. Sanders said he thought Europe would achieve e-commerce maturity very quickly, effectively closing the gap between it and the United States.

"Despite some minor development hurdles, Europe's prospects as a global e-commerce leader look very good," said Sanders.

Forrester believes that the U.K. and Germany will lead the way, with Northern Europe developing e-commerce much more quickly than Southern Europe -- where cultural resistance and a weak infrastructure will hold back the online economy.

Forrester makes its predictions for global e-commerce in a brief entitled "Global eCommerce Approaches Hypergrowth." It examines the underlying conditions for e-commerce in 52 countries, looking at issues such as regulatory environment, technology infrastructure, connection to international supply chains, and the existence of regional trading blocs.



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