Internet Commerce to Skyrocket

The amount of commerce conducted over the World Wide Web will top $1 trillion by 2003, according to a report by International Data Corp. (IDC).

The report, “The Global Market Forecast for Internet Usage and Commerce,” predicts that the number of Internet users making purchases over the Web will jump from 31 million in 1998 to more than 183 million in 2003. The 183 million figure will represent only 36 percent of all Web users.

“Because of the increase in the number of people who make purchases over the Web, the growth of the average transaction size, and the adoption of the Web as a viable vehicle for business procurement, Internet commerce will grow substantially,” said IDC’s Carol Glasheen.

Although the number of Web users is increasing in many foreign countries, Internet commerce currently remains US centric. In 1998, IDC found that 56 percent of Web users resided outside the US, but e-commerce among non-US Web users accounted for only 26 percent of worldwide spending.

By 2003, IDC estimates 65 percent of Web users will be international, and the US will account for less than half of worldwide Internet commerce.

“There are several reasons for the US focus today,” Glasheen said. “For example, home PC penetration and the percentage of business PCs that access the Internet are much lower outside the US. Additionally, the smaller number of users and slightly smaller transactions sizes outside the country generate smaller amounts of commerce. But this is changing as Europe and other regions quickly accept the Web.”

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