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Internet Has Had Little Impact, Manufacturers Say

February 21, 1997

Only 13 percent of midsize manufacturers reported that the growth of the Internet has had "a great deal of" or "some" impact on their companies over the past two years, according to a survey conducted for Grant Thornton LLP. However, the manufacturers expect that to change in the next two years. The survey found that 50 percent of the manufacturers expected the growth of the Internet to have "a great deal of" or "some" impact on their companies.

The percentage of manufacturers with sites on the World Wide Web has increased significantly in the past year. In October 1996, 25 percent reported that they had a site, while in November 1995, only 14 percent had a site. Most significantly, 59 percent indicated that they either would have or planned to have a site by the end of 1997.

Yet, less than half of the manufacturers with Web sites expect the Internet to have much of an immediate impact on sales. Just 41 percent rated "providing customers with another way to purchase products" as an important reason for establishing a Web site, and only 17 percent cited starting or enhancing mail-order capabilities as a reason to create a Web site.

Almost two-thirds of those with Web sites, cited "advertising or marketing purposes" as the basis for creating the site. "Being perceived as a leader" was cited by 62 percent for having a presence.

Grant Thornton surveyed 253 U.S. manufacturing companies with annual sales between $10 million and $500 million. Their report can be found on the Web at http://www.gt.com/gtonline/mandist/gtsam/ netnr.html