The Web Pays: New Market Recasts Industries

As last years explosive dot-coms turn into this years dot-bombs, theres a growing perception that the Web isnt a place to do business. In this case, perception is not reality.

A new study from Forrester Research found that e-commerce - both business-to-business and business-to-consumer - will continue to grow and will account for 8.6 percent of worldwide sales of goods and services in 2004, with online sales reaching $6.8 trillion.

Forrester also found that the Web will continue to transform entire industries - "from raw materials like timber, all the way to purchases of household items like books and magazines," the report reads.

Nowhere has the Web had more of an impact than in the high-tech industry. Not long ago, computer and electronics equipment makers were the proverbial cobblers, reluctantly doling out only the barest necessities to their soleless information technology departments. Today, the high-tech sectors Internet efforts, among the most forward-thinking initiatives in corporate America, are profoundly changing high-tech manufacturing, squeezing time, inventory and expense out of product design cycles and supply chains.

And because of the Web, its no longer business as usual in the financial and communications services, entertainment, advertising and scores of other industry sectors. Heres a look at some of the industries the Internet continues to remake.