Spanish e-commerce sales are expected to hit 20 billion pesetas ($110 million) by the end of this year and then vault to 255 billion pesetas (about $1.5 billion) by 2002, the Spanish DM magazine Estrategias reported last month.
Internet penetration is still anemic by Northern European or U.S. standards — 3.6 million people, or 8.2 percent of the population, have access — but that number is expected to grow quickly, one reason why an increasing number of U.S. Web companies are targeting Spain.
Telefonica, Spain’s largest phone company, and Terra Networks, its Internet subsidiary, have greatly contributed to the Web’s growth in Spain by pushing the spread and development of mobile phones.
Spain now has 14 million mobile phones, and this year 15 percent of them are expected to be sold with wireless application protocol terminals. Spanish content providers are gearing up to beam news, weather and stocks to palm-held devices.
Spanish sites are growing in sophistication, too. Netjuice subsidiary Kellko.com recently landed on the 16th spot of a London Sunday Times survey of the 100 most successful European Web sites. E-Dreams, another Spanish site, finished 26th.
Netjuice invests in Internet businesses that have the potential of becoming sector leaders, and its activities are not limited to Spain. In addition to offices in Madrid, it operates in Miami; Mexico City; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.