Half of German Companies Have Positive View of Net

A joint study by Gemini Consulting and the University of Freiburg reveals how companies in German-speaking areas evaluate e-commerce.

The report, “The Electronic Commerce Enquete,” is based on a survey sample of 914 corporate decision makers, primarily in German companies. In the autumn of 1997, 116,621 written questionnaires were distributed.

The study found that while over half of the companies surveyed have a positive view of the Internet, one-third do not consider the Web a serious business medium. Further, more than three-quarters of the executives surveyed said the Web cannot replace one-on-one contact with major consumers.

More than 15 percent of the companies surveyed offering online purchasing said their Web presence was profitable, 36 percent expect their sites to generate a profit in the next few years. One-third of the companies described their Web presence as a successful public relations tool.

E-commerce increased international competition in the marketplace, according to 85 percent of the respondents. When questioned about the major barriers to e-commerce, 71.1 percent cited the lack of accepted online business practice. Seventy percent pointed to the need for for electronically signed contracts in order to speed up development. In contrast, technology issues were considered a minor hurdle.

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