Concern about security remains one of the major barriers to e-commerce and is cited repeatedly as a major reason for not shopping online by consumers around the world. It will not be an easy fear to eliminate.
A study by Net Effect Systems found that while 94 percent of U.S. consumers are happy to shop online, 74 percent prefer to make the actual purchase in an offline store because of security concerns.
Here comes Europe
A new report from Andersen Consulting found that European companies have dramatically increased the use of e-commerce in the past 12 months, catching up to their U.S. counterparts. The report estimates that the Western European Internet market will be worth $430 billion by 2003, with 170 million users.
One-third of European companies use e-commerce in business procurement, logistics, finance and product development, according to the report. At least 90 percent expect to use e-commerce for sales and marketing, with 83 percent predicting they will use it for business procurement.
European executivess attitudes toward the Internet and e-commerce have evolved significantly. The study found that 64 percent believe the Net offers a real competitive advantage in the marketplace, up from 51 percent in 1998. Of these, 33 percent expressed a strong belief in the future of e-commerce, up from 23 percent last year.
How about a ballpark figure?
BallPark Business Valuation is a software application designed to give small business owners the ability to estimate their companys value. The program gives those with little financial or accounting background a fast and easy way to create a value estimate, while providing financial professionals the power to perform detailed analyses.
Using a capitalization of earnings approach, a rough estimate can be generated in five minutes. A more thorough analysis using the discounted cash flow approach can be performed in as little as an hour.
The fully integrated tool allows users to create a value estimate report, projected balance sheets, income statements, cash flow statements for five years and a significant assumptions report. Other features include a dilution analysis tool, detailed projections of capital purchases and detailed debt financing.
The program takes users step-by-step through the valuation process and retails for $29.95. Go to www.bpvalue.com for more information.
Whos in charge here, soldier?
A full 65 percent of U.S. companies do not have a coherent e-commerce strategy, according to a survey by the Cutter Consortium. Further, almost a quarter of companies do not have a basic Internet business plan in place.
The findings highlight the fact that most companies have yet to integrate their IT strategy into the organizations overall business strategy, according to Sheila Green, analyst with the Cutter group. The study found that only half of the firms surveyed involve their CIO in corporate strategic planning.
A quarter described themselves as participating in e-commerce; almost 50 percent advertise online; 38 percent say they deliver goods over the Internet.
Updating all those computers
Mainsaver, a computerized maintenance management software developer, announced Web deployment ability for Mainsaver software, which eliminates the need to install and upgrade application software on individual client PCs by enabling them to communicate with an application server over a company intranet. Application updates are made just once at the server, not at each PC simplifying maintenance and giving IS departments more control. For more information, go to www.mainsaver.com.
Worldwide busy signal
There will be more than 500 million Internet users worldwide by 2003, according to estimates from IDC Research. The group predicts the online population of Europe will overtake that of the U.S. for the first time that year.
The European Internet population is set to reach 170 million 2003, up from the current estimate of 44 million. According to IDC, Europe accounts for six of the worlds top 10 Internet economies, shortly to increase to seven. Nonetheless, it accounts for just 10 percent of the global Internet economy.
IDC predicts that in 14 countries, 40 percent of the population will be online by 2003, and together they will account for 50 percent of the world economy. In the U.S., the Net will account for 7 percent of the gross domestic product by 2003 and 62 percent of U.S. adults will have Net access by that time.
Liberty Electronics recently introduced the PanelPC, a fully integrated, one-piece computer system equipped with advanced PC power that conserves office space, reduces clutter and uses less energy.
Mounted atop a stable pedestal, the PanelPC uses the latest innovations in small form factors to create a cost-effective PC the size of a single flat screen monitor. Besides conserving space, the computer uses 60 percent less electricity than monitor-based systems.
The PanelPC is equipped with a 180-degree tilting 14.1 inch or 12.1 inch LCD monitor, a Pentium motherboard with up to a 300 MHz processor, between 1.3 to 6.4 gigabytes of memory, and a floppy drive and dual speakers. For more information, go to www.libertyus.com.
And I thought it was all porn
There are an estimated 3.6 million sites on the Web, of which 2.2 million are publicly accessible, according to a report by OCLC Research. Further, the largest 25,000 sites account for 50 percent of the content available on the Web.
The 2.2 million publicly accessible sites together contain nearly 300 million individual pages, according to the OCLC. In 1997, the number of publicly available sites was set at 800,000. Adult content sites containing sexually explicit material account for 42,000 of the publicly accessible sites. The average Web site is made up of 129 pages, up from 114 pages in 1998.
The report described 400,000 sites as private their content is available either for a fee or through prior authorization. One million sites were classed as provisional under development, unfinished or under construction.
The findings are taken from the groups Web Characterization Project, conducted in June.
It even makes julienne fries
Symantec Corporation announced Norton SystemWorks 2000, a software suite which protects against viruses, solves most PC problems, guards against crashes, optimizes system performance, keeps programs up to date and enables emergency system recovery. It includes new versions of Norton Utilities 2000, Norton AnitVirus 2000, Norton CleanSweep 2000, Norton CrashGuard 2000 and a six-month subscription to Norton Web Services. The professional edition also includes Norton Ghost 2000.
For more information, go to www.symantec.com.
Taxing my bandwidth
A survey by BizRate.com finds that the number of goods shoppers are willing to purchase online will diminish if taxes are introduced. The survey was conducted over a two-day period to ascertain the effect of taxation on e-commerce.
Of 7,000 online buyers, 75 percent said they would buy less if taxes were imposed online. Almost half said they would not have bought their most recent purchase had it been subject to tax.
Another 46 percent said they had never paid tax on an online purchase, while 88 percent said they had not paid tax on the last item they bought online and 38 percent said they had paid tax on at least one item.
Book em, Danno
Amazon.com, buy.com and barnesandnoble.com were the top three e-retailers in August 1999, according to a report from PC Data.
Also on the top 10 list were ticketmaster.com, fourth, followed by planetrx.com, mothernature.com, drugstore.com, gateway.com, cdnow.com and smarterkids. The bottom half of the top 20 list included chipshot.c om in 11th, followed by hallmark.com, egghead.com, yahoo.com, officemax.com, etoys.com, jcrew.com, spree.com, compaq.com and towerrecords.com.
The findings are based on a survey sample of 67,000 home Internet users, conducted in August.
Forget that Yahoo
A report from Goldman, Sachs & Co. notes that while commercial properties such as Yahoo! and eBay receive a lot of attention from investors, business to business e-commerce is on the verge of exponential growth. The report predicts that e-commerce will be worth $1.5 trillion by 2004.
The global investing banking firm, the most active in the current spate of Internet IPOs, estimates that e-commerce applications earned $39 billion last year. This years figure will be nearly three times that at $114 billion. Small business are expected to be a key driver in this sector.
SAP, Oracle, VerticalNet Inc., Ariba Inc. and Healtheon Corp. were noted as the most likely to benefit in the B2B sector in the high-tech industry. The report also identified companies in the electronic, chemical, computer hardware/software, aerospace/defense, motor vehicle, medical and transport industries.
He said, she said
So far, the only [complaint weve had about us] is one guy e-mailing us about poor grammar on our Web site. Complain.com founder Steven Ericsson-Zenith (San Francisco Chronicle)
I dont think there is any example [of self-regulation] that has ever worked, unless government is standing behind it with a club. MIT economist Lester Thurow at an IDC conference (Reuters)
A full 28 percent of marketing executives in the U.S. were responsible for their companys e-commerce strategy at the close of the second quarter, according to a report by Zona Research. This compares to 15 percent of marketing executives in the first quarter.
On the other side, the number of IT executives with responsibility for e-commerce has dropped from 59 percent in the first quarter to 46 percent at the close of the second, reflecting businessess maturing attitude to the Internet, according to the report.
Je ne parle pas langlais
A few global Internet trends:
-- 78 percent of Web sites are in English;
-- 96percent of e-commerce Web sites are in English;
-- 70 percent of all Web sites are in the U.S., and most are in English
-- The function of all Web sites posted in English has fallen from 98 percent in 1995 to 82 percent in 1998.
Procure me a forklift, would ya?
Research from IDC shows that Web-based procurement is growing exponentially, with a compound annual growth rate of 105 percent. The industry doubles in size every year.
IDC expect that the market, worth $147 million last year, will be worth $5 billion by 2003. Individuals are learning that Web-based procurement is significantly more cost effective than traditional means. As a result, more companies are turning to the Internet to buy goods and services from their suppliers and trading partners, placing orders on everything from office supplies to safety equipment to temporary personnel.
According to the report, projected savings from Internet commerce procurement will surpass $103 billion on transactions totaling $1.375 trillion by 2003. The number of people using online commerce procurement applications will explode from 600,000 in 1999 to 250 million by 2003.
Look at all those eyeballs
Figures from Nielsen/NetRatings show that in June, 35 percent of all surfing time was spent on just 50 sites, endorsing the contention that a handful of sites are garnering an increasing number of eyeballs. The figure is up from 27 percent last year.
While the Nielsen/NetRatings study found that the top 10 megasites got 20 percent of all surfing time, PC Data found that the top 10 sites, apart from AOL, got 32 percent of all surfing time. Yahoo! gets five minutes of every hour of online surfing.
Analysts predict this trend will continue. The exponential growth of the Web means that users need the services offered by portals to navigate and find what they want. Recommendations from friends and colleagues who use portal facilities compound the popularity of these sites.
Despite the popularity of the megasites, none of them index anything near one-fifth of the Nets 800 million-plus pages and most index the same sites. As a result, there are a select number of beaten paths emerging in each vertical industry.