Study: 43% of U.S. Business Web Sites Conduct E-Commerce

New York City-based Internet consultancy eMarketer reported on Wednesday that the number of active business Web sites in the United States has grown to 339,658, of which only 43% are engaging in direct e-commerce activities. eMarketer plans to release the full report titled “eCommerce: B2B Report” next week.

The report indicates that despite talk of a “level playing field” and the relative cost advantages of conducting business online, large and medium-sized firms continue to dominate the e-commerce world. According to the consultancy, the percentage of large companies conducting e-commerce is nearly triple that of their medium-sized counterparts.

eMarketer reports that only 2% of small business Web sites are conducting e-commerce, but predicts a rapid increase in that segment of the market. The “eCommerce: B2B Report” indicates that the 7.2 million small businesses in the U.S. are becoming a significant force in e-commerce, due to sheer numbers.

In related news, the consultancy predicts that U.S. businesses will account for the majority of e-commerce revenues through the year 2000.

eMarketer also posted the results of a report by Giga Information Group, that fewer than 5% of e-commerce sites on the World Wide Web will show a profit during the next 12 to 18 months.

eMarketer quoted Giga’s senior e-commerce analyst, Erica Rugullies, as saying “Electronic commerce will play an increasing role in business, but even the best-known start-ups aren’t profitable yet, and only a few Fortune 100 companies have profitable Internet commerce operations.”

eMarketer is a consultancy offering information about Internet-based business, including marketing information, statistics and news. The eCommerce: B2B ReportTM concentrates on the business side of electronic commerce. It is the companion piece to the eCommerce: Retail Shopping ReportTM, which focuses on the consumer or “retail” side of e-commerce. Together they cover key aspects of electronic commerce. The reports are available for $295 (US$) each or $525 for the set.

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