May 4, 2001, 12:00 AM

Despite dot-com jitters, European web commerce will grow steadily, says IDC

The number of European users of the Internet will double from 117 million now to 233 million by the end of 2004, says a new report from IDC.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

The number of European users of the Internet will double between now and 2005, says a new report from IDC, the EC and IT research company. IDC says 117 million Europeans--30% of the population--are using the Internet now. That figure will increase to 233 million by the end of 2004, representing almost 60% of the entire population. Despite the much publicized dot-com shakeout and economic slowdown, Internet commerce continues to grow and is expected to surpass $1 trillion by 2004, IDC says.

"The dot-com shakeout has done nothing for the reputation of the Internet and e-business as a whole; however, it has allowed both consumers and companies to develop more realistic expectations of what can be accomplished using the Internet," said Daniel O`Boyle Kelly, program manager of IDC`s European Internet Economy research. "Virtues such as profitability and efficiency are finally becoming widespread in the virtual world and the collapse of certain dot-coms may actually help e-businesses achieve more sustainable development in the future."

According to IDC’s report “Internet Usage and Commerce in Western Europe, 2000-2004,” the business-to-consumer sector saw promising growth last year, with European consumers spending $12.2 billion online, which is double that of the year before. However, these growth rates are unlikely to be carried over to the near future, although the business-to-business sector will drive e-commerce as a whole, despite the apparent economic slowdown, IDC says.

New business models, such as e-marketplaces and e-procurement, are helping to make B2B e-commerce increasingly relevant to decision-makers who previously found it hard to relate to a direct sales model, IDC reports. "Managers will also feel comfortable with focusing on the Internet-enabled process of optimization, reduced cycle times, and cost control," O`Boyle Kelly added.



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