Expectations for electronic commerce were given another boost in a report released today by International Data Corporation (IDC).
According to the IDC findings, the growth in the number of online buyers and the amount of the average transaction will drive e-commerce up almost a hundredfold from $2.6 billion in 1996 to more than $220 billion in 2001.
The study's results come in spite of lingering concerns among consumers about security, ease of use, and reliability when it comes to online transactions. IDC concedes that the findings are based on the assumption that online security will improve.
The forecast updates previous results published by IDC in November and is based on more than 40,000 research interviews in 17 countries.
The report indicates that the total number of Web access devices such as PCs and Internet TVs will grow from 32 million in 1996 to over 300 million by 2001.
In addition, the number of total users will grow to 175 million, with non-U.S. consumers accounting for the majority of that growth. The U.S. percentage of Netizens is predicted to drop from 65 percent to 54 percent.
Gigi Wang, senior vice president of IDC, attributes the growth to the surge in international Internet use altogether. "There's growth in users of the Web outside the United States, more businesses and consumers are on the Web, and multinational corporations are moving to a Web-based structure," she said.
"There is a growth of business-to-business sales over the Web, as well as some sales being taken away from 800 number and catalog sales," Wang added.