BtoB

Europe shaping up as big e-market battlefield

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One overseas region that has gotten a fair amount of attention for e-marketplace activity, likely because it's furthest along, is Europe.

Forrester Research Inc. estimates that by 2005, e-marketplaces will account for 6% of all b-to-b transactions in Europe-or about $759 million. Overall, Forrester expects up to 1,000 e-markets to arise in Europe alone, eventually thinning out to no more than 50 individual markets due to consolidation.

The hottest sectors are likely to be the U.K. and Germany, which should account for half of all European e-marketplace trade by 2005.

According to Forrester analyst Jaap Favier, these markets will start out with biases toward specific buyers or sellers, but eventually evolve into neutral, Pan-European venues that will benefit any business looking for easy access to European buyers and sellers.

Indeed, many of the world's largest e-marketplaces, such as Covisint and Transora, are counting on Europe for a large portion of their business. They face competition from European-grown markets. For instance, consumer goods marketplace Transora faces competition from Pan-European e-market CPGMarket.com.

European pure-play Net markets may have caught a break when funding of U.S. b-to-b companies hit a snag with this summer's Nasdaq correction, said Kevin Jones, NetMarketMakers founder and president. "European Net markets have another six months or so to put down roots before competition comes from across the pond," he said.

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