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Executive Web use may spur e-commerce

May 14, 1999
Web posted at: 3:51 p.m. EDT (1951 GMT)

by Jeanette Borzo


(IDG) -- Senior-level management support for electronic commerce may get a boost as top corporate executives around the world log on to the Internet more frequently, according to an Andersen Consulting survey.

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Andersen surveyed more than 1,700 executives at Fortune 1000 companies (or their equivalents) as well as leading government entities in 24 countries. What Andersen found is that senior executives in the world's major markets are going online more often and are becoming more comfortable using the Internet. For example, more senior executives in Australia, Spain and the United Kingdom logged on to the Internet in 1998 than in 1997, and they did so more frequently, Andersen said.

Access to the Internet increased slightly from 1997 to 1998, Andersen said, pointing out that 92 percent of CEOs, chief financial officers, and CIOs around the world had Web access in 1998, compared to 90 percent in 1997. Of those with access, 83 percent went online at least once per week in 1998, compared to 71 percent in 1997. One-half of the surveyed executives said they "feel comfortable" online, which is up from one-third in 1997.

Corporate executives in Canada and the United States are the most connected to the Web, Andersen said, followed by executives in the United Kingdom, Australia, France, and Spain.

Some two-thirds of U.S. senior executives surveyed have gone shopping online, Andersen found, making them the most likely national group to do so. This is significantly higher than the global average, Andersen said. Top management in Canada (48 percent), the United Kingdom (39 percent), and Australia (39 percent) were the next most likely groups to make personal purchases online.

Andersen noted other geographical differences in executive Web use. Increasing numbers of Japanese senior executives, for example, are going online once per week (81 percent in 1998, up from 72 percent in 1997), but they continue to be the least comfortable in using the Web and rarely shop online. Only 13 percent said they have shopped on the Internet.

Japan and Germany have the lowest level of senior executives with Web access, being the only countries surveyed with access rates less than 90 percent (72 percent and 82 percent, respectively). German executives came in as the least likely to go online, with only 66 percent of executives logging on once per week in 1998.

Jeanette Borzo ( is the Paris bureau chief for the IDG News Service, an InfoWorld affiliate.

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