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 senior analyst.
“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.”
Reprinted from internet.com’s E-Commerce Guide.