Online retail sales continue to soar

The Middle East may be breathing a sigh of relief that it did not get caught up in last year's hype, but if you think that means the end of e-commerce, you'd better think again.

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By  Rob Corder Published  February 20, 2001

Making headlines about successes is hard work in 2001. The Middle East seems ready to sneer at any suggestion that the New Economy even exists, let alone believe that it will affect this region. failures are a hot topic of conversation in the majilis, and little attention is now paid to the fact that the Internet has already irreversibly changed the way businesses operate around the world.

Online retailers, perhaps the purest of all New Economy phenomenon, are not about to disappear. In fact online sales are still exploding. The latest results published by the US Census Bureau show that online sales in the US topped $28 billion in 2000. This is up from $17.3 billion in 1999 and $7.7 billion in 1998.

If US trends are mirrored in this region, the Middle East travel and tourism industries will be affected most by online sales, closely followed by the IT sector.

According to the Bureau’s ‘Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2000,’ online shoppers spent an estimated $7.8 billion on airline tickets last year, along with $2.1 billion on hotel bookings.

Twenty-four percent of all PC sales, worth USD5.1 billion, were made online, as were 21 percent of software sales, worth USD1.3 billion.

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