Global e-commerce needs more time, study finds

Global e-commerce needs more time, study finds

While global e-commerce will grow rapidly in the next decade, the vast majority of transactions will continue to occur in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, according to a study released yesterday by market researcher Computer Economics.

According to the study, e-commerce in those regions will comprise 94 per cent of all worldwide transactions this year, and the market is expected to grow from $US2.9 trillion this year to $9.5 trillion by 2003. At the end of that three-year period, transactions in those regions will still account for a whopping 93 per cent of the worldwide total, the study found.

At least another decade - and a lot of funding - is needed before e-commerce will grow globally, according to Michael Erbschloe, vice president of research at Computer Economics.

"Africa, South America, and parts of Asia are behind because the infrastructure hasn't been built out, and the costs are very high for people to get connected to the Internet," Erbschloe said.

By 2003, business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific will account for 99.9 per cent of all B2C transactions worldwide, he said. While the business-to-business market is expected to be slightly more open, Erbschloe cautions that online marketers should be wary of targeting their products to individual consumers so as to build market shares in other regions less likely to experience high growth.

US-based research firm Carlsbad collected information from its client base as well as the US departments of State and Commerce and the Central Intelligence Agency, Erbschloe said. Researchers considered four trends: Internet usage by country and area; international business relations and trade; types of trade; and "the likelihood of favourable retribution for supply-chain applications," Erbschloe said.

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