Some 97 per cent of major European businesses are now embracing ecommerce, according to a new study.
The Andersen Consulting study, Connecting the Dots, found that almost 80 per cent of European companies have plans for exploiting further ecommerce activities, and 72 per cent say they have developed an ecommerce strategy.
The annual study, based on a survey of 600 senior European and US executives, showed that about 72 per cent of European companies use ecommerce for sales and marketing - up from 53 per cent last year. Some 47 per cent of companies said they are using eprocurement, compared with only a few per cent in 1998.
Rosemary O'Mahoney, Andersen Consulting's managing partner of technology for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India, said established businesses have stopped being intimidated by ecommerce or by its pioneers.
"Certainly, the last year has proven the advantages of strong brands, deep pockets and managerial expertise," she said.
European companies' understanding of the complexities of international ecommerce trade can be one source of competitive advantage, according to O'Mahoney.
She said this applies not only at home but also in helping European companies make the most of Europe's linguistic and cultural links with other parts of the world.
The study also reported that 60 per cent of the surveyed executives believe that the continent can become the hub of a global network economy.
On the other hand, the study identifies two negative aspects for the continued growth in European ecommerce: an increasingly evident shortage of key skills and a legal and business climate less favourable to entrepreneurs than that of the US.
The study said while an entrepreneurial culture has been reawakened in many parts of Europe, "the active help of governments and established businesses is still needed in Europe to make the best of its opportunities and compete with the US".
For the third year running the US managed to generate the largest part of worldwide ecommerce revenue, with 67 per cent of global business-to-business, compared with Europe's 14 per cent share, said the survey.
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