According to researchers International Data
Corp., almost 60 percent of the worldwide online audience comes
from outside the U.S. and that population will generate nearly 46 percent
of global e-com spending by 2003, up from 1998 levels of just 26 percent.
The IDC report finds that e-commerce is especially strong in Western
Europe. E-commerce spending in
the area is predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 138
percent from $5.6 billion in 1998 to a whopping $430 billion by 2003.
“In Western Europe, the Internet is quickly moving from a technophile
phenomenon to a tool for the entire population,” said Anna Giraldo, an IDC
“The increased interest in the Internet along with the adoption of the
Euro, a single common currency across the region, will help drive e-commerce
sales,” Giraldo said.
E-commerce is also expected to surge in the Asia/Pacific region, including
Japan, said IDC. Net users in that area will almost quadruple, from 21
million in 1998 to over 81 million by 2003. During that time frame, e-com
spending should soar from $2.7 billion to $72 billion.
“Companies that sell on the Web will face technical, logistical, and
organizational challenges as they try to develop a global Internet strategy
that incorporates multilingual ecommerce sites,” Giraldo said.
“It might sound contradictory, but a successful global strategy will
involve thinking locally in each of the
individual markets. Internet users, especially in Western Europe, will be
more trusting of national Web sites than international ones.”