Europe has fallen far behind the United States in both e-commerce development and growth. This is by far due to the relationship between e-commerce growth and Internet-user growth. The growth of Internet users in Europe has been slowed greatly due high connection and usage fees. Unlike in the U.S., Most local calls in Europe are billed out by the minute resulting in very high costs for Internet usage. Only as of recently has this problem begun to change, and now Europe is beginning to see the usage growth that it expected. This growth coupled with the introduction of the Euro-dollar, a common currency throughout Europe, has set the stage for what is sure to be an explosive e-commerce market.
If current predictions hold true, more than 215 million Western Europeans will be online by 2003.
"At least 3 percent of European Internet users already shop online regularly and 15 percent make at least 4 purchases per year. About 20 percent of shoppers should be regular online buyers by 2003 as consumers will have more trust in ecommerce merchants and online privacy and security."It is not only Western Europe that is beginning to experience growth either. Central Europe is making a charge also, with an increase from five percent to twenty-five in Internet usage in the past year.
Due to these sharp increases in usage, and the vast potential of the European market, Venture Capitalist have been eyeing this market. VC's have been pouring money into European startups, hoping that they will be able to cash in on companies similar to the ones already succesful in the United States. Unfortunately for these Venture Capitalists and the European startups, U.S. companies are beginning to see the European growth potential and are beginning to enter the market also. This increase in competetion is sure to seal the immenint growth of European e-commerce.