There are more than 110 million people using the Internet today, and that number
is growing fast. Nearly 65% of current Internet users have used the web to
search for products and services for sale online; however, only 14% of these net
users have actually purchased anything online. By the year 2000, 92% of net
users were browsing through online stores and of that group 45% will actually
make purchases. The future looks very good because 2001 numbers look even
In the past, computer hardware and software sales comprised the largest piece of
the online marketplace. Other markets, however, are now making great strides in
this arena. In general, the more difficult and/or time-consuming it is to
purchase a product, the more likely consumers will prefer to use the Internet
over the traditional shopping experience.
Today, small businesses (defined as those businesses with less than 100
employees and/or those with sales less than million) account for more than 23
million businesses in the United States, but less than 10% have their own web
site and less than 5% have e-commerce sites. Large corporations, however, have a
greater involvement/interest in the Internet and E-commerce. Why? Large
companies have more resources and easier access to the latest technology.
Now, the playing fields are leveled for small businesses through access to a
global marketplace at a substantially reduced cost.
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