According to the US Census Bureau, B2B sales may have accounted for 90 per cent of all e-commerce activity in the US in 1999. The new "E-stats" report from the bureau attributes this figure to the fact that manufacturing and wholesale industries have long used EDI systems so the transition to e-commerce was easier than for the retail and service industries.
The report found that $US485 billion of manufacturing shipments, or 12 per cent of all such shipments were made online.
The transportation equipment sector had the highest number of online manufacturing shipments, accounting for 29 per cent followed by food products, chemicals, machinery and computer and electronic products manufacturing groups.
In the merchant wholesaler industry, 5.3 per cent of all trade (worth $US134 billion) was conducted online. This sector was dominated by drugs wholesalers, followed by motor vehicles, parts and supplies wholesalers, and professional and commercial equipment wholesalers.
Only 0.6 per cent of the trade of selected service industries (worth $US25 billion) was conducted over the Internet. Travel and reservation services were most likely to be offered online followed by securities and commodities services, publishing and computer systems design and related services.
Despite the media focus on the B2C sector, only 0.5 percent of retail trade sales (worth $US15 billion) were made online in 1999. Non-store retailers, such as catalogue and mail order companies, and pure play Internet retailers accounted for 77 per cent of all online retail sales.