Business-to-business commerce spending has been hit hard by the current economic slowdown, forcing one research firm to downgrade its earlier forecasts for the sector.
Jupiter Media Metrix said Wednesday that it now projects B2B spending will grow to reach $5.4 trillion dollars in 2006. It previously expected B2B spending to top $6.3 trillion a full year earlier, in 2005.
"The current sluggish growth in B2B goods commerce can be attributed primarily to a slowdown in spending on discretionary software and services by the Global 2000 companies," Jupiter analyst Jon Gibs said in a report released Wednesday, titled "B2B Spending 2006: Awaiting the Inflection."
On the positive side, Gibs said automakers are pressing ahead with B2B initiatives and are in a position to lead a rebound. "Evolving Internet technologies, the slowdown in car sales and fierce competition are forcing manufacturers to connect electronically with their trading partners and end customers to stay competitive," Gibs said.
Jupiter forecasts the auto industry will conduct nearly 50 percent of its business online by 2006.
Analysts are having difficulty calculating exactly how the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks will affect the technology industry, but most agree it will delay a recovery.
Fred Hobbs, an executive at JustTechJobs.com, said his online recruitment firm noticed a definite increase in companies posting jobs in the July/August time frame. The first half of the year had seen the reverse trend -- a decrease in job postings and an increase in people looking for jobs.
However, the Sept. 11 attacks brought an abrupt end to the positive trend.
"For a full week afterward, we did nothing," he said. "We still have not had many calls from companies [posting jobs], but its difficult to say if thats a sign of a further downturn, or whether companies are still getting back to normal."