IDC: E-commerce to exceed $US1.6 trillion

The US share of internet commerce will dive from 62 per cent last year to 48 per cent next year, IDC found in the study, based on 40,000 interviews in 31 countries. The study found that 38 per cent of internet users surveyed will buy goods and services over the net by 2003, compared to 29 per cent by the end of this year.

This is the last year that the US will dominate the e-commerce market because the number of international buyers and transactions is on a sharp rise, said David Emberley, an analyst with IDC, based in Boston.

"The web is becoming less US-centric. Europe is a much bigger player and enjoys the quickest growth," he said.

Europe, according to market analysts, is number one when it comes to the wireless market, which accounts for that region's current momentum.

By 2003, the number of internet users will rise by 33 per cent worldwide, compared to 23 per cent in the US, with the number of internet shoppers growing 47 per cent worldwide, compared to 28 per cent in the US. The number of web pages will increase by 75 per cent in the same time period, IDC predicted.

Most online spending will involve business-to-business (B2B) transactions, Emberley said. Of the expected $US1.6 trillion in spending, $1.4 trillion will be related to B2B, with the rest coming from business-to-consumer spending.

User fears about internet security is no longer a problem for online buyers, according to IDC analyst Chris Christiansen.

"People are coming to the realisation that purchasing over the net is safer than in the real world," he said, adding that the assortment of goods and services available on the internet is fuelling the increase in spending.

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