European businesses are dithering about adopting Internet commerce and risk losing ground to US competitors, according to study by Andersen Consulting.
Out of the 300-plus European executives polled, only 39 per cent had concrete ecommerce plans in place, despite the fact that more than 80 per cent believed trading on the Net would have a major bearing on their future. This compares to 77 per cent of US executives who said they are exploiting ecommerce opportunities.
Hesitation is due to fears about security, a general lack of consumer understanding, plus distractions such as Year 2000 and Euro conversion projects, the survey revealed.
Andersen warned that Net commerce legarthy posed a threat to European competitiveness and could force Europe in an economic dead end.
"There's a plum to be had out there, said Steve Johnson, co-director of Andersen's ecommerce practice. "The question is who's going out there first. The European market should step up, but if they don't somebody else will,? he said.
Further proof that European professionals are confused about online business comes from a recent Mori poll. Companies embracing ecommerce systems had seen a 'significant' boost in productivity and efficiency, according to the survey of 900 companies in six European countries.
In contrast to Andersen's findings, more than half said that they are using the Net for more sophisticated purposes than disseminating information, with one in five respondents claiming to use the Net for online trading.
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