The United States has been passed by Sweden as the first in e-readiness rankings, according to new research from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). E-readiness is the openness and preparedness to Internet-based commerce.

The ranking is based on the business environment, consumer and business acceptance, government support and a positive policy environment, technology and support services.

Economic decline has affected the United States’ drop to third place, behind Sweden and Denmark, but it is the eagerness to adopt Internet technology in their everyday lives that has pushed Scandinavia ahead.

According to a new study by RoperASW and AOL Time Warner, Europe’s online spending is creeping up on the U.S. Europeans spent an average of 430 euros between August and October 2002, while Americans spent the equivalent of 543 euros during the same time period and 45 percent of Europeans are expected to spend more versus only 41 percent of Americans.

The Netherlands and the U.K. tied with the U.S. for third and Finland, Norway, Switzerland, Australia took sixth through ninth respectively, and Canada and Hong Kong tied for tenth.

Southern Europeans continue to be skeptic of incorporating the Internet into business. Italy, Portugal and Spain are ranked 21st to 23rd, and Greece is 26th.

Although most countries have improved since the previous year, the economic faltering has inhibited growth, but not halted it.

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, ZDNet


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