UK e-commerce lags behind European rivals

UK businesses are being outpaced by rivals in Spain, France and Germany in their adoption of electronic commerce, according to a survey of European business directors by Mori.

Preliminary findings from the survey show widespread confidence in the Web as a route to sales growth.

Nearly 90 per cent of companies equipped to handle online sales, as well as Web-based business research and e-mail, expect to increase volumes of “e-commerce” sales in the coming year.

The majority of European businesses are now connected to the Internet, according to Mori’s findings (, with half of the rest planning to go online over the next 12 months. But most are not harnessing e-commerce systems to drive additional sales.

Across Europe, Spanish companies which have Web access are most likely to offer e-commerce facilities to customers (46 per cent), followed by France (33 per cent ) and Germany (20 per cent). The UK, the Netherlands and Italy are trailing these adoption rates for introducing e-commerce.

According to Janette Henderson, partner at Mori: “Our research suggests that companies who restrict their use of the Internet to e-mail and Web searching could be left on the sidelines of a fast emerging ‘Internet economy’, simply because they are not aware of the opportunities for doing business electronically.”

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