By the end of 2002, more than 600 million people worldwide will haveaccess to the Web, and they will spend more than US$1trillion shopping online, according to a study by research firm IDC.
“Once people get over the security andprivacy hiccups, as well as other problems that arenot directly related to e-commerce, and have access towider product offerings, e-commerce will become aswidespread as offline commerce,” Carol Glasheen,program vice president of IDC’s Global ResearchOrganization, told the E-Commerce Times.
E-commerce grew to $600 billion in 2001, a 68 percent increase over 2000, IDC said.
U.S. in Lead
Residents of the United States do more shopping online than those of any othercountry, according to the study, but the United States’ slice of the pie willshrink. “The U.S. is a more mature market, so it saw a lot of its fast growth earlier,” Glasheen said.
The United States now accounts for 40 percent of all money spentonline, but that number will drop to about 38 percentby 2006 as Asia and Western Europe increase theironline spending, according to IDC.
In Asia, a smaller percentage of the population isbuying online, but the sheer number of people in theregion is driving growth of about 89 percent, IDC said.
E-commerce in Western Europe is expected to rise 68percent, partly as a result of the new common currency,which brings better competition, price transparencyand improved deals for online buyers.
Other regions of the world are “more in the 40 percent range,” Glasheen said.
Online shopping is showing its slowest growth inJapan, Latin America and Eastern Europe. “Japan jumpedon early, but growth has flattened out as it hasstruggled with economic problems,” she added.
In the United States, 80 percent of the population will use theWeb at least once a month by 2006, IDC predicted. InCanada, Web use will grow by 80 percent, with more than halfof Internet users shopping online. “Canada is a littlebit behind the U.S.,” Glasheen said.
Business-to-business (B2B) makes up by far the largest share ofWeb sales. One reason why the United States is currently ahead of thegame is that B2B is catching on internationallysomewhat later than it did in the United States, according to Glasheen.
B2B will account for 83 percent of online sales in2002 and 88 percent in 2006, according to theIDC study. “That’s not to say B2C is not growing fast,” Glasheen noted.”It is — it’s just a smaller slice of the pie.”
The majority of B2B sales consists of volume purchasing, meaning that companies are spending huge amounts of money online.Consumer buyers are numerous, but they are spendingfewer dollars on average.