Businesses and consumers around the world will drive revenues from Internet commerce to more than $US1 trillion by 2003, according to research released last week by International Data Corporation (IDC).
Online revenues have been jumping worldwide, thanks to new Internet customers and a larger average transaction size, says Carol Glasheen, director of primary research and market models at IDC.
IDC estimates that the number of people buying online globally will increase from 31 million in 1998 to more than 183 million in 2003. What's more, the 183 million consumers will represent only 36 per cent of the entire online population, leaving plenty of opportunity in a large, untapped e-commerce market.
In 1998, 56 per cent of Web users resided outside the United States, but these international users accounted for only 26 per cent of worldwide e-commerce spending. American e-commerce today is driven by a high penetration rate of PCs in both homes and businesses, not to mention a higher average shopping order compared to shoppers overseas.
However, Web usage and Internet commerce will become less focused on the United States, according to IDC. "The growth in Western Europe was much higher than expected," Glasheen says of this year's findings. International purchasing will soon exceed that of the United States. IDC estimates that by 2003 as much as 65 per cent of all Internet buyers will be international consumers.
The IDC numbers appear somewhat conservative compared to the latest Forrester Research forecast. Last November, Forrester estimated that by 2003, US business-to-business e-commerce would total $US1.3 trillion, with an additional $US108 billion for business-to-consumer sales online.