• April 17, 2000

How useful are PDAs with wireless e-mail and Web access to our salespeople? The little screens and the stylus don't seem practical.

Business-to-business e-commerce is hot and getting hotter. Currently, B2B e-business makes up more than half of all Internet commerce transactions, but the market is young. B2B commerce is likely to pass the $500 billion mark in the next few years, while e-commerce could top out under $200 billion at some point. In a study called, "The new economics of transactions: Evolution of unique e-business Internet market spaces," Deloitte Research, a division of Deloitte & Touche, projects the growth of e-business and e-commerce.

Chart 1: Early Adopters
Chart 2: B2B Gets Bigger
Chart 3: Changing Web strategies
Chart 4: Industry Penetration

Chart 1
Early Adopters
We're still in the first stages of Internet growth. The total number of users, sites and revenues realized through the Internet will continue to grow at an accelerated rate over the first half of this decade and perhaps beyond. That has been the predominant prediction over the last couple of years. Now, we'll see whether the growth continues to accelerate past the current stage of commercialization through mainstream uptake and into ubiquity.

Chart 2
B2B Gets Bigger
Business-to-business transactions are projected to grow from $8 billion in 1997 to $842 billion by 2002. That is hundredfold growth. Meanwhile, e-commerce for consumers will reach $180 billion. This growth will realize a range of Internet commerce developments, including robot shopping agents, mass customization, digital products and digital cash.

Chart 3
Changing Web strategies
CIOs are making a transition from being champions of passive Web strategies just three years ago to seeing the possibilities in conducting business over the Internet. Supply-chain applications are expected to grow by 45 percent over the next two years, reaching a point at which 70 percent of all companies will be using applications and the Internet to link to other companies.

Chart 4
Industry Penetration
The energy industry would get the blue ribbon for being the earliest adopter of Internet technologies for conducting commerce. Surprisingly, the public sector comes in a close second. But look for many industries, particularly those rich in information, to reach levels of Internet penetration as high as 40 and 50 percent in the next few years.

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