Traditional firms boost e-commerce growth

Online sales in the US are expected to top $36bn (£22bn) by year-end according to a study from online trade association Shop.org, revealing that traditional businesses and not Web-only shops were driving sales.

Research conducted by the Boston Consulting Group predicts the rapid growth of e-commerce will increase at a rate of 145 percent in 1999. Based on research of 328 online retailers, the study found Net orders went up by 200 percent in 1998 and the number of online shoppers was up 300 percent.

Despite the success of Net start-ups like Amazon.com, the research found that the bulk of Internet retailing is conducted by more traditional businesses. "Most people think e-commerce is mainly being done by Web-only businesses but 62 percent of online revenues in 1998 were from retailers who had businesses that predated the Web," said David Pecaut, vice president of the Boston Consulting Group.

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