Gartner scales back B2B projections

A year ago Gartner Group Inc. put out bullish numbers for the growth of business-to-business Internet commerce, but today, in the midst of a bear market, the research firm dramatically scaled back its estimates.

Gartner had believed that 2004 "would be the year for massive adoption of Internet commerce," said Lauren Shu, director of e-business research for the Stamford, Conn. firm. Gartner has now lowered its 2004 worldwide estimate from US$7.3 trillion in business-to-business Internet transactions to $6 trillion.

Shu added that an economic downturn of significant depth or length could further lower those estimates.

"In the past year, reality really has set in that the transition to Internet commerce is going to be slow and painstaking," she said.

She said Gartner's thinking has changed from looking for a year in which business will boom for online business-to-business marketplaces to a model which looks for steady, modest growth.

Gartner's 2000 estimate for total online business-to-business transactions is $434 billion, a 189 percent growth rate from $150 billion in 1999.

Giga Information Group Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., said in January that electronic business-to-business sales will top $5.2 trillion in 2004, including multiple channels such as electronic data interchange and the Internet.

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