Study: North American B2B Dominance to Diminish

North American business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce spending reached US$255 billion in 2000, or 59 percent of the $433 billion spent worldwide, according to a study released Monday by Gartner.

However, North America’s dominance of the B2B scene is expected to fade in the coming years, Gartner said. This year, the research firm predicted, North American B2B e-commerce spending will reach $480 billion, but will drop to 52 percent of the $919 billion expected to be spent worldwide.

“There has been a lot of talk about the Internet as the enabling technology for globalization for some time now, but over the next five years, as obstacles to global trade are overcome, we’ll witness the power of the Internet as a unifying technology to spur global trade,” said Lauren Shu, research director for Gartner’s e-Business group.

Asia-Pacific Comes On

In 2000, B2B e-commerce spending in the Asia-Pacific region reached $96.8 billion, or 22 percent of the worldwide total, according to Gartner. This year, B2B spending in the region is expected to reach $220 billion, or 24 percent of the total.

“Businesses in Asia-Pacific will use this opportunity to reduce exposure to overseas markets impacted by the economic downturn and focus on building private regional marketplaces with familiar partners,” said Lane Leskela, Asia-Pacific Internet commerce research director for Gartner’s e-Business group.

Leskela predicted that over the next five years, there will be an increasing number of e-marketplaces in a variety of industries, including energy supply, paper, utilities, food, pharmaceuticals and petrochemicals.

You’re Up, Europe

Gartner said that B2B online spending in Europe reached $72.5 billion last year, or 17 percent of the worldwide total. In 2001, that number is expected to grow to $188 billion, or 20 percent of the total.

“In Europe, Internet commerce initiatives proved to be longer and more difficult than people expected,” said Evelyn Cronin, European Internet commerce research director for Gartner’s e-Business group. “Uncertainty about legislation, as well as language and currency differences, complicate the situation and are major inhibitors to Internet commerce taking off.”

Cronin added: “Internet commerce solutions must support every country’s language, currency, international trade duties and regulations, to support inter-country regional commerce. This is so complex that today, few do. Additionally, the inefficiencies in the telecommunications and Internet backbone in Eastern and Central Europe have stalled Internet commerce.”

Although B2B is expected to boom in Europe, a February report by Jupiter MMXI Europe predicted that fewer than 100 of the 500 European B2B e-marketplaces currently in existence will survive in the next several years.

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