2001: A Cyberspace Odyssey

There's been so much written about Y2K and its effect on e-commerce, that I thought it might be a relief to look at the coming new millennium in a different and more positive light. I'll try to present a mixed bag of where the experts think e-commerce will be by 2001, and offer some of my own crystal ball projections.

Most forecasters indicate that U.S. e-commerce-related business will reach the $40 to $50 billion mark by the end of 1999. These same experts predict that this number will grow to $133 billion by the end of 2000, more than doubling in 12 months. The same explosive growth is also forecasted for Western Europe (from $18 to $49 billion), Asia Pacific (from $2 to $4 billion), Japan (from $5 to $11 billion), and the rest of the world (from $10 to $20 billion).

Forrester Research has recently made these 2001 Web related forecasts:
  • More than 43 percent of durable goods manufacturers will conduct business-to-business commerce over the 'Net, with sales reaching $99 billion.
  • Companies that sell wholesale office supplies, electronics goods, and scientific equipment will have sales exceeding $88 billion.
  • Doctors, lawyers and accountants will slowly adopt e-commerce, and sales by 2001 should be $19 billion.
  • Non-travel agent air travel bookings should exceed $7.3 billion.
  • Books, music and entertainment Web sales should exceed $3.7 billion by the time 2001 arrives.

    Here are some more interesting factoids.

  • Seven out of 10 Internet users (representing 65+ million adults) shopped online in the last six months, while half reported making an online purchase. (Opinion Research)
  • Business-to-business companies that market online attribute $1 in $6 (17 percent) of their sales to their Internet presence. (ActivMEDIA Research)
  • It took radio over 30 years to reach 60 million people worldwide. It took television more than 15 years to reach 60 million people worldwide. It took just 36 months for the Internet to reach 90 million people worldwide.
  • The Neptune Society, one of the nation's largest cremation companies, has created an e-commerce Web site to market its services "pre-need."
  • General Electric purchased in excess of $1 billion worth of supplies via the 'Net in 1998 and expects to expand their Web purchases to more that $5 billion by 2000.
  • European e-commerce will be worth $30 Billion by 2001.
  • European Internet usage will grow from 25 million users to over 120 million by 2001.

    I predict everyday, labor-intensive types of commerce, such as purchasing a home, or renting an apartment or vacation property will emerge on the Web. Think of the time saved in having a realtor's site provide automated loan assistance, title searches, insurance coverage and 3D virtual tours of the available properties.

    Automobile shopping from your couch--locating the style, color and options for your next car, and having the Web locate not only the closest dealer and the best price, but also requesting the dealer drive the selected auto to your home for a first hand look and test drive.

    And, from my crystal ball...Elvis will return, and make his presence known through www.jellydonut.com.

    Mr. and Mrs. Charles D. Com, of Louisville, KY, make history by naming their first-born daughter Dot.

    It's going to be a fun ride over the next 13 months, stay tuned.