Businesses in the South East of England have taken to the internet like ducks to water over the last two years, causing ecommerce trading levels to "march relentlessly ahead", according to a study by the London Chamber of Commerce (LCC).
The area is apparently a hot bed of businesses setting up a web presence, with companies online rocketing from 65 per cent to 88 per cent over the last two years.
Some 34 per cent of these use websites to generate income compared with 22 per cent in 1998. The LCC spoke to 350 companies in and around the capital for the survey.
"With the vast majority of firms now having websites, the challenge currently facing them is how to make the most of them," said Simon Sperryn, chief executive at the LCC.
According to the figures, internet-to-consumer revenues in Europe will hit £1.6tn by 2004, making up over six per cent of Europe's total trade, and business-to-business (B2B) revenue will soar to £4tn.
Unsurprisingly, the charge will be led by online retailers, which have grown tenfold in the last two years and are key adopters of ecommerce technology.
Sperryn said the survey shows the increasing importance of ecommerce to business owing to the massive expansion of B2B trading on the internet.
"It is very significant that the biggest rise in the use of websites to generate business is among manufacturers, [as is] the spectacular growth in the number of manufacturers using their website for trading," he said.
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