Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Back to normal - 12/2001


In the fortnight or so following the September 11 attacks, most business analysts hastened to revise their economic forecasts. It seemed that the attacks, coming as they did when most of the world seemed to be slipping into recession, could only worsen the global economy. As far as online business goes, however, it seems that the analysts may have spoken too soon.

The most recent results from the comScore Weekly Ecommerce Tracking index show that ecommerce has more or less recovered from the impact of the attacks. In the first week after the attacks, online sales overall were down 31 percent in the US, while online travel sales in particular were down 46 percent.

Recently, online sales were only 2 percent lower than pre-attack levels, and this was mainly because online travel sales were 6 percent below pre-attack levels. Sales of non-travel goods and services last week were in line with pre-attack levels.

The online business sector is returning to normalcy. Research from both IDC and the Strategis Group indicates that executives believe the attacks of September 11 may delay an upturn in the tech industry and the wider economy but not so much so to overly concern any of them. Eighty-five percent of the telecommunications executives polled by the Strategis Group said they do not expect their company to suffer a long-term negative impact from the attacks, while 72 percent are confident that the telecom sector will rally early next year.

It has been almost two months now since the world watched aghast as airplanes crashed in New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania, and although the attacks continue to reverberate around the world, it seems that the vast majority of people in the US have reacted the only way they know how, by picking themselves up, dusting themselves down, and trying to live as normal a life as possible.