E-commerce to Explode in Asia, Europe, S. America

FRAMINGHAM (04/21/2000) - A study released by Forrester Research Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts, predicts that most Asian, South American and Western European nations will hit a point of electronic-commerce "hypergrowth" over the next four years, turning the Internet into a more global business engine.

Forrester estimates global e-commerce, including both business-to-business and business-to-consumer transactions, will reach US$6.9 trillion by 2004, up from a projected $655.8 billion in 2000. It believes U.S. e-commerce, projected at $488.7 billion in 2000 (75 percent of the global market) will rise to $3.19 trillion in 2004. By that time, U.S. e-commerce will only constitute 46 percent of a global market totaling $6.88 trillion.

The growth in Western Europe already has started, according to the Forrester report, with most nations there hitting "hypergrowth" by 2001. Asian and Pacific nations are expected to start hypergrowth in 2002, with most hitting that point in late 2003. Central and South American countries should start in 2004, with most nations hitting hypergrowth within a period of months that year, according to the report.

Most Eastern European and African and Middle Eastern countries aren't expected to ramp up until 2005, the report predicted.

In dollar terms, the projected growth outside of the U.S. is dramatic.

Asia-Pacific nations are projected to generate $53.7 billion in e-commerce in 2000, rising to $1.65 trillion in 2004 -- a thirty-fold growth. Forrester expects Asia-Pacific to experience better than 100% growth in each of the next four years, with Japan accounting for slightly more than half the region's e-commerce. Australia, South Korea and Taiwan are projected as the other leaders in the area.

"The resulting e-commerce gains will be tightly linked to business-to-business trade in Asia-Pacific, with more than $1.5 trillion of the region's total online sales linked to B2B sectors," the report said.

With Germany, France and the U.K. leading the way, Western Europe is projected to grow from $87.4 billion this year to $1.53 trillion in 2004, staying ahead of the Asia-Pacific markets until 2004.

"E-commerce in Europe benefits from a number of inherent strengths -- a coherent regional trading bloc, a strong technology infrastructure and deep connections to global supply chains," said Forrester analyst Therese Torris.

Latin America is projected to lag until 2004, when Forrester estimates e-commerce will jump from $31.8 billion to $81.8 billion. Mexico, which is not counted with the rest of Latin America, is predicted to experience faster growth, from $3.2 billion in 2000 to $107 billion in 2004.

In all cases B2B is seen as the driver for the "hypergrowth" with business-to-customer e-commerce constituting less than 10 percent of the overall revenue.

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