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The World of E-Commerce E-Commerce today is a shape-shifter whose mission is various and evolving one moment as small and personal as finding a local restaurant the next as big and corporate as locating a pasta wholesaler for your chain of noodle shops Thanks to new technologies and rapidly increasing Web access e-commerce is beginning to pick up speed Last year very few European retailers were taking orders on the Web but this year has seen phenomenal growth One reason is simply that more potential consumers are connected to the Web On-line access almost doubled in Europe this year Within five years the Euro e-penetration rate will be more than 50 percent Almost a fifth 18 percent of companies have launched a product that is only available on the Internet In addition nearly three quarters of respondents have in the last three years launched a new product or an existing one using e-commerce technologies Senior directors with responsibilities for e-commerce in 357 European companies were questioned about their use of e-commerce The research revealed that the gap between the electronically sophisticated companies and the rest identified in last years report is now narrowing In the last 12 months European business has grasped the monumental scale of e-business and e-commerce opportunities All business leaders now know that they must respond quickly or they will die Barriers to entry are increasing as the first movers mature The action is moving from pure e-commerce to the re-engineering of the whole enterprise to e-business Last years report makes a distinction between sales attributable to the Internet where companies use the Internet for marketing purposes but use conventional channels to complete the purchase and Internet transactions where all aspects of the sale including payment are concluded over the Internet Major findings of the years report include Sixty-three per cent of companies now say that they have sales attributable to the Internet up from
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