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E-commerce taking off, but not a high flyer

Feb '07
Deutsche Bank AG says innovative digital technologies have wrought fundamental changes in the trade in goods and services. Digital web portals provide greater transparency in business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce as a more sophisticated form of global distance trading. This transparency is making B2C e-commerce popular across broad sections of the world's population. An analysis of the shops, shoppers and goods traded in B2C e-commerce reveals numerous peculiarities.

It is striking that shops that are new to B2C e-commerce are, on the one hand, seeking to strengthen existing customer relations through online marketing and, on the other, seeking to attract new customers. Many shops have realised their need to catch up especially in cross-border trade.

Currently, two-thirds of all German shops offer their goods and services via web platforms. The cross-border share of total sales is less than one-tenth at four in five of these shops.

As regards the goods traded, the bestsellers of classic mail order business also dominate B2C e-commerce. At the top of the list of items traded over the internet are physical goods (such as PCs, books and clothing). Trailing far behind are offers from the following three categories: web services (e.g. dating agencies, classified ads), digital goods (e.g. software, computer games, videos, music, audio books) as well as events and travel (e.g. hotel reservation services, tickets).

E-shoppers are quoted as giving major consideration to security issues. However, sensitivity regarding security issues differs widely depending on the e-shopper's sex, experience with B2C e-commerce and age. As a rule, men attach greater importance to technical security than women.

Besides, inexperienced e-shoppers tend to have more confidence in websites with an apparently trustworthy design. Also, one in two senior shoppers has very strict limits to his e-shopping activities and only relies on well-known and thus confidence-inspiring brands.

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