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Internet use has mushroomed in OECD countries in recent years, but electronic commerce is still sleepily taking its time to get off the blocks, the latest OECD Information Technology Outlook shows. Consumers and businesses have so far been slow to swap their shopping baskets for a keyboard even in countries where Internet access is most widespread. In countries that currently measure the value of Internet sales, they accounted for just 0.4% to 1.8% of total sales in 2000.

But if the spectacular growth predicted by some has not materialised, the volume of electronic transactions is growing. In Sweden in 2000, electronic sales, including those over all computer-mediated networks, were more than 10% of total sales. Business-to-consumer Internet sales have not taken off, but it is not simply a question of access. About a third of the individuals in Denmark who use the Internet order goods or services on it, whereas in Finland only about one-sixth of those online use it for buying and in Italy, where more than 20% of the population use the Internet, online buying is negligible. Business-to-business e-commerce has grown faster but is still well below the level of Internet availability. At least half of businesses in all EU countries, and in some cases more than 80%, use the Internet, but only in Sweden do more than half of those using the Internet exploit it for ordering.

• OECD Information Technology Outlook: 2002 edition, OECD, forthcoming.

© OECD Observer No 231/232, May 2002 

Economic data

GDP growth: -9.8% Q2/Q1 2020 2020
Consumer price inflation: 1.3% Sep 2020 annual
Trade (G20): -17.7% exp, -16.7% imp, Q2/Q1 2020
Unemployment: 7.3% Sep 2020
Last update: 10 Nov 2020

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