FIGURE 9  Use of Online Purchasing and Sales at the Country Level by Firm Size
100%
US (L)
DK (L)
80%
e
US (S)
DK (S)
 linn
60%
G (S)
 ose
G (L)
s
ha
40%
rc
F (L)
 pu
F (S)
ingka
20%
M
0%
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
Making sales on line
Source: CRITO Global E Commerce Survey, 2002; unweighted sample.
Interestingly, all countries and establishments conduct more online purchasing than online sales. 
While online sales are not as complex to integrate into existing ERP systems, firms in this study 
do more online procurement. This may be due to the fact that online sales is too complex for the 
manufacturing industry with its heterogeneous and complex products, while the retail/wholesale 
and banking/insurance industry use online sales more extensively. Another explanation for the 
higher usage of online procurement instead of online sales is that most establishments have not 
integrated automatic replenishment systems or interlinked their ERP systems with the Internet, 
but are ordering manually at web front ends. This is, of course, the easiest way to use e 
commerce in the first step, but holds no additional positive network effects for uses such as 
storage and processing of the data in in house systems. The usage of these technologies is 
therefore not applicable to make assumptions about the e commerce readiness of an industry. To 
analyze the degree of automation avoiding media flow interruptions which occur often by using 
web front ends manually, empirical data about the usage of electronic marketplaces by using 
standardized electronic formats such as the XML based catalog standard BMEcat in Germany 
would be helpful. Nevertheless, the de facto proportion of online sales to total sales may still be a 
relatively low ratio. 
In the area of more advanced and sophisticated e commerce solutions, the overall penetration is 
lower in all countries and dominated by large establishments (Figure 10). Approximately 60% of 
large US firms use operational data exchange with their suppliers and also approximately 70% of 
them conduct operational data exchange with their customers. In comparison to German SMEs 
and large establishments, who use these two e commerce categories up to 50% each, the 
differences between SMEs and large firms are considerably larger in other countries. French 
firms, as well as both small and large Danish firms, have higher usage of supplier oriented 
supply chain management. At the same time, French and US SMEs use less of the latter 
mentioned technology in comparison to German firms. SMEs do not use these two e commerce 
solutions as often as German SMEs, which are again not far from the position of large 
establishments.  
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