Internet has become indispensable to business

Virtually all German companies (98%) are by now connected to the internet. At the same time also smaller companies, which three years ago were still lagging behind, have caught up with bigger companies in this respect. In addition, an always growing number of employees have internet access at their places of work: while at the end of 2004 their percentage amounted to 48%, it has increased to 54% by now. The electronic data processing industry, telecommunications companies, the providers of technical services as well as banks and insurance companies are the forerunners in this respect.

The aforementioned findings were revealed in the course of a survey among 4300 companies employing at least 5 people in the goods producing industry and selected sectors of the service industry. This survey was carried out at the beginning of 2007 by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim and its findings have now been published in the ZEW´s »IKT report«.

The internet is more and more becoming the basis for a multitude of business processes. Thus, 78% of companies purchase at least sporadically or regularly over the internet which is an increase by 9% as compared to the year 2004. Compared to the year 2002 this corresponds even to a plus of 17 percent. Also grown have sales through e-commerce, i.e. selling products and services over the internet. While five years ago just 40% of companies had online sales, this percentage has risen to 54% by now. At the same time online sales to other businesses (B2B) amounts to 45% while sales to private customers (B2C) reach 30%. Furthermore, the internet increasingly replaces outdated systems for the electronic trade of goods such as Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) which is currently still used by only 23% of all companies compared to 29% in the year 2002.

With regard to the technical nature of internet access, there is currently a change taking place from the analogue modem to ISDN, DSL or leased lines. Since 2002 the percentage of companies with broad band internet access has significantly increased from 49% to 86%. Analogue modems and ISDN internet access are still relatively frequent in small companies. On the other hand, companies employing at least 250 people often use the UMTS standard for going online. Alternative kinds of internet access such as satellite, powerline or WIMAX are relatively seldom used.

The IKT report containing further information and explications is available for free-of-charge download from the internet. GERMAN