Business sites hit boom time on Net

Business-related Internet sites in Australia have doubled in the past 12 months, a federal government report released last week shows.

The report, the first statistical study on business on the Internet in Australia, shows there are now at least 54,800 business sites. It also showed that in the 1997 calendar year, there were 1.5 billion electronic transactions made to a value of $16 trillion worldwide.

Releasing the report, stats.Electronic Commerce in Australia, the Minister for Industry, Science and Tourism, John Moore, said it showed electronic commerce was fundamentally changing the nature of business systems and industry structures in Australia.

Stats.Electronic Commerce in Australia is the first statistical-based report to give a clear picture of electronic commerce activity in Australia.

Other highlights of the survey are:

* In February this year $1.6 billion worth of transactions took place;* Of the 1.6 million Internet users in Australia at the start of 1998, 1.09 million were commercial users;* 11 per cent of all businesses have a Web site;* Online purchasing volumes by Australians have tripled over the past 18 months to $55 million;* More than 80 per cent of companies predominantly use Internet access for e-mail and business research;* 35 per cent of businesses with a Web site claimed it had a significant effect on business;* Less than 20 per cent of enterprises with a Web site believed they had achieved a return on investment greater than 10 per cent.

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