It adds "The crisis is also driving more businesses online, attracted to the Internet as a means to increase visibility and markets at relatively low cost. And business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce makes up the lion's share of online sales: in the US, B2B generated $US3.1 trillion in sales in 2008 compared to percent $US130 billion for sales to consumers."
In the United States, according to the OECD, "while most sectors were experiencing a downturn in the first quarter of 2009, online retail sales for 80 retailers rose by an average of 11 percent." In France, the Electronic Commerce and Distance Selling Federation estimated that, for the first quarter of 2009, e-commerce sales grew by 26 percent and was expecting them to increase throughout the year by 20 to 25 percent.
The findings come from a new OECD report prepared as a background to a forthcoming OECD conference "Empowering E-Consumers: Strengthening Consumer Protection in the Internet Economy," to be held in Washington DC 8-10 December.
The report warns that, although e-commerce will keep growing, business and governments will need to do more to strengthen people's trust in buying online. "Most countries have e-commerce laws and regulations, many based on the OECD's 1999 "Guidelines for Consumer Protection in the Context of Electronic Commerce" but the speed with which new technologies help create new products and services can mean that those laws and industry best practices are or will quickly become outdated."
"Most OECD countries, for example, do not have regulations which specifically tackle privacy issues involving children, except for the US, which passed the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), in 1998. The increasing use by business of behavioural advertising techniques which track online behaviour to tailor advertising to consumers' interests is also under government scrutiny."
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