Europe will see a huge boom in business-to-business or commercialt of all internet transactions by 2003. e-commerce over the next five years, with the UK, Germany and France leading the way.
According to a report from Visa International, the three countries will together represent 80 per cent of the business-to-business purchase volume in Europe by 2003. The report predicted that the total global commercial e-commerce market will exceed $1 trillion by 2003, while the European market is expected to increase to $176 billion from $7.15 million in 1998.
This type of e-commerce is forecast to touch every industry sector, with services and manufacturing expected to be the largest users of the internet to carry out commercial transactions, followed by government, education, financial services and retail.
This growth rate is due to current low volumes of e-commerce purchases and the opportunity that online ordering offers to organisations to streamline purchasing processes and lower costs for materials and services purchased.
Nicki Bisgaard, senior manager of commercial card products at Visa, said: 'The Net will provide a level playing field for suppliers and enable organisations to quickly identify the supplier or partner that meets their needs, whether they be based in Frankfurt or Jakarta.
'But many businesses will use the same technology to forge closer links with preferred suppliers, globally and locally.'
While large and medium-sized companies will, predictably, have the highest volumes, it is small businesses with less than 50 staff that are expected to grow at the fastest pace. According to the report, that sector will grow from generating about $10 billion in e-commerce in 1998 to about $140 billion by 2003.
Visa International also found 39 per cent of purchases will be from businesses providing maintenance, repair and operational services, such as office supplies, computer equipment and temporary staff hire. An additional 12 per cent will be travel-related.
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