Considerable web based investments were made (especially in the German bank sector) to build 
up a large variety of broad retail banking and brokerage online services (Table 11). Most of these 
investments are followed by additional huge IT back end integration investments to connect 
already existing IT infrastructures. Today, banks realize that these customer oriented charge free 
services are welcomed benefits on the customer side, but such efforts do not increase their own 
benefits in the same way. More promising are the e commerce B2B  and B2C oriented 
investments in the retail/wholesale industry, where traditional catalog sellers have increased their 
online business significantly and successfully. Mail order sellers are able to reduce the number 
of printed catalogs in favor of more web investments and web advertising. In the manufacturing 
industry, the Internet is mainly used as a cheap transmission layer to transport data between 
former non EDI capable suppliers or customers. Internet based EDI or WebEDI solutions in 
different variations and even some standardized WebEDI solutions like in the consumer products 
industry are becoming more and more popular. Especially of interest is the not yet standardized 
XML/EDI applications and data formats that connect even the smallest firms via the web (Figure 
6).
TABLE 11  IT Operating Budget  Devoted to Web based 
 E
Total
a
stablishment 
Size 
Industry 
SME Large 
Manufacturing 
Retail/  Banking/ 
Wholesale 
Insurance 
<10% 57.6 
58.4 
29.0 
36.3 
68.0 
43.8 
10 20% 5.6 
5.6 
4.4 
18.9 
0.1 
3.9 
20 50% 10.4 
10.2 
18.6 
14.1 
7.1 
27.6 
50%+ 19.2 
19.5 
8.3 
12.8 
21.8 
20.1 
% Establishment's Web based 
(Mean) 11.7 
11.6 
15.9 
14.7 
9.8 
27.4 
Notes:  
a
Results are weighted by the total number of establishments in an industry by size of firm. 
Source:  CRITO Global E Commerce Survey, 2002 
Aside from the investigated e commerce readiness in the studied three industries, the overall e 
commerce readiness among German industry was measured for the first time in a survey of 1.2 
million enterprises by the German Federal Statistical Office in 2002.  The sample includes all 
sizes of enterprises, clustered into four categories from the manufacturing sector, the retail and 
hotel sector, the freight transport sector, the communications sector and selected enterprises from 
the service sector in general. Seventy one percent of these enterprises used computers to support 
their business processes and 62% used the Internet to conduct business online. In comparison to 
other European countries, the Federal Statistical Office reported that Germany is until now not at 
the forefront of using e commerce technologies, but has reached a high level of IT integration 
which is not far from the level of the leading countries. When taking the large number of 
enterprises in Germany into account, Germany has not lost the challenge of using e commerce 
(FSO, 03). This official statement supports our assumption that German firms are acting as fast 
followers after a new technology has proven successful.
Electronic communication increases by using e mail and is an accepted way of corresponding 
aside from traditional, paper bound messaging. More than 700,000 enterprises of the sample 
were reachable electronically in 2002. One third or 400,000 enterprises had a website or 
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