America is Losing World eCommerce Race

Mon. May 22, 2000 12:00 AM by Business Wire

San Francisco, CA - The United States is rapidly losing its dominance in Internet usage and eCommerce, according to a comprehensive new report released today by IDC, a leading advisory firm on ebusiness and technology.

The World is quickly moving away from a U.S.-centric, English speaking Web, reports IDC in its new study, "Web Site Globalization: The Next Imperative for the Internet 2.0 Era." Total Internet users worldwide will reach 602 million in three years, with the percentage of American users dropping from one-half in 1998 to one-third in 2003. The next 6-24 months are critical, according to IDC, for corporations to build strong footholds in foreign markets through effective Web globalization strategies.

U.S. companies are missing the international eCommerce explosion, according to the report, with the overwhelming majority (70 percent) drawing less than 10 percent of their eCommerce revenues from overseas.

Sponsored by Web globalization industry leader eTranslate, Inc. (, the report forecasts that worldwide B2B purchases will ignite the Internet, jumping to $1.4 trillion in 2003 from $107.7 billion in 1999- a 1300 percent increase. Western Europe will surge past America for global eCommerce revenues at more than double the U.S. growth rate.

"Now is the time to gain competitive advantage globally," said Barry Parr, IDC's Director of Consumer eCommerce Advisory Research and author of the report. "With more than half the potential market outside the U.S., companies failing to expand internationally are leaving one-half their potential revenue on the table."

"While the U.S. has been the leader in Internet and eCommerce development, American companies are in danger of falling behind," said Charlie Baxter, CEO of eTranslate. "To succeed internationally, U.S. businesses have to approach each foreign market individually; not only offering their Web sites in the local language, but incorporating local cultural distinctions which are equally important.

"Making the investment today offers a significant Return on Globalization tomorrow," Baxter added.

While Internet penetration in Western Europe today lags behind the U.S., European businesses are better positioned than their American counterparts to leverage trans-border commercial success and exploit the eCommerce boom there, according to the report. Those that succeed have customized business strategies to win market share.

"Those that move on web globalization now will win the international eCommerce race," said IDC author Parr. "This first-to-market advantage has long-term pay-offs as overseas markets continue to grow."

Successful strategies by Cisco, Kodak, Dell Computers, Charles Schwab and other companies are described in the report.

The full report can be found at

News, photos provided by Business Wire.