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February 28, 1999


By CBR Staff Writer

Europe is in danger of losing business to the US in the e-commerce boom, according to research firm Gartner Group. Analysts at the company predict that by 2001 only 30% of European enterprises will have implemented e-commerce strategies and 80% of global business-to-consumer online transactions will originate from US enterprises. The United States continues to thrive in the new business environment and is already penetrating the European market space, analysts said at an Internet and Electronic Commerce conference in Europe last week. Gartner attributes the situation in Europe to slowness in corporate thinking, weakness of e-commerce infrastructure, high internet costs and the legislative, linguistic and cultural problems posed by Europe’s many nations. The fact that different currencies are still being used was also identified by analysts as a barrier to e-commerce – at least in the short term until the euro is in wide usage. European countries need to make the appropriate strategic investments to accelerate the adoption of e-commerce, said Alex Drobik, Research Director at Gartner Group, in a prepared statement. However, many of these problems also face US companies operating in Europe. Gartner group analysts also miss out on issues to do with order fulfillment, a crucial element if e-commerce is to move beyond multi-media such as music, books and images and be the shopping revolution that many herald. Specific analysts were not available for comment at the time of going to press, but a spokesperson for the group said that Gartner did not look at channel issues and dealt only with technology concerns. Gartner is also reluctant to put figures on the future monetary value of the e-commerce industry. A spokesperson for the group said Gartner felt that transaction forecasts appeared almost daily and varied from $800m worldwide to $1 trillion. The group says companies should be aware of the limitation of this rather new branch of market research and rely on the forecasts only when they understand the methodologies used in making the estimates.

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