U.S. Maintains Huge E-Commerce Lead Over Europe, Says Study

[London, ENGLAND] According to
Andersen Consulting in its
third annual study of the global e-commerce market, the U.S.
is maintaining its huge lead despite “a growing wave of
confidence in Europe.”

For European e-commerce entrepreneurs, the figures make
stark reading. In 1999, the U.S. generated 67 percent of
global B2B e-commerce revenues and 76 percent of global
B2C e-commerce revenues. Europe secured just 14 percent
in both categories.

One finding that will come as no surprise is that the
so-called “dot-corps” (a conveniently shorter epithet
than “clicks-and-mortar”) are now playing as big a role
in e-commerce as the specialist dot-coms. Driven by
fear — fear of competition, fear being left behind —
the dot-corps are spending lavishly on e-commerce initiatives
to secure their industry positions.

“Established businesses have ceased to be intimidated by
e-commerce or star-struck by its pioneers. Certainly the
last year has proven the advantages of strong brands, deep
pockets, and managerial expertise,” said Rosemary O’Mahony,
Andersen Consulting’s managing partner, technology, for Europe,
Middle East, Africa and India.

The Andersen study “Connecting the Dots?” is the result of
extensive interviews with 600 senior executives in the U.S.
and Europe.

One major trend it identifies is the convergence of
the old and new economies. Researchers say that the
sound business principles, experience and expertise of the
old economy are beginning to mix with the agility and
customer-responsiveness of the new.

For Europeans, one of the few encouraging aspects of the
study is the emergence of what it calls “pockets of
excellence.” These “pockets” include the entire wireless
Internet and digital TV industries where Europe currently
has a substantial lead.

However, even where it leads, Europe could stumble, say
the researchers. “Unless they can capitalize on that lead,
Europeans could once again find that the business value of
a technological advantage is lost to more dynamic competitors.”

A skills shortage and a less favorable legal and business
climate could cause further problems for European e-commerce,
the study continues. More progress is needed in both the
public and private sector if Europe is to compete effectively
with the U.S.

The full study, published this week, is available to Andersen
Consulting’s clients.

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