Study: E-Commerce Nearly Doubled in 2000

Consumers increased their online shopping by 46 percent in 2000,racking up about US$56 billion in sales for the year,according to data released Tuesday by ActivMedia Research.

As part of its annual report gauging the performance of business-to-consumer (B2C) vendors, ActivMedia also found that about 16 percent of Web-based transactions were conducted during the holiday season, with sales during that peak period entering the neighborhood of $9 billion.

By comparison, other recent reports have pegged 1999’s holiday online sales between $3.5 billion and $4.5 billion, about half of the total achieved during the 2000 holiday season.

“E-commerce activity is really starting to pick up steam,” ActivMedia Research vice president of information services Chris Anne Wheeler said. “Online order processing systems are maturing to the point where e-tailers who invest in online and offline promotional activities are reaping the rewards with significant benefits.”

Increases Forecasted

ActivMedia found that the majority of consumer-oriented Web sites have already entered the e-commerce arena, with 57 percent currently engaged in selling products and services as well as accepting online orders. An additional 36 percent of consumer sites provide pre-sale information and post-sale support but stop short of taking orders.

Moreover, as e-tailers continue to ramp up their online marketing and order processing capabilities, Internet sales for B2C marketers will be pushed above $1.1 trillion by 2010, the research firm estimated.

“Overall, it takes time to become profitable online and those who implement solid business plans to support reasonable sales volumes should do well online going forward,” said Wheeler.

B2B Out Front

Although B2C vendors were the first sector to experience notable sales volume through the Internet, their dominance in the e-tail arena is on the wane, according to ActivMedia.

Currently, B2C accounts for nearly half of the total revenue generated by Web-based transactions, ActivMedia said. However, by 2010 that number is expected to slip to under a third, as other sectors — including business-to-business (B2B), online content, Internet service provider (ISP) and nonprofit — cultivate their online business offerings.

Specifically, ActivMedia targets B2B as the sector that not only will see the most “extreme” rate of growth but also will eclipse B2C in terms of Web-generated revenues by 2001.

ActivMedia’s forecast of explosive growth in online marketplaces dovetails with several recent reports. A study released last month by eMarketer found that the B2B sector will account for 87 percent of total e-commerce by 2004.

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