Economic sectors constitute the main level of analysis for e-Business [email protected] During its first phase in 2002/03, e-Business [email protected]tch covered fifteen sectors of the economy, seven from manufacturing industries and eight from service industries, including the two financial services sectors. The definition was based on NACE Rev. 1 Divisions and Groups. The aggregation of NACE categories of business activity into "sectors", which has constituted the major unit of observation for e-Business [email protected] since, partly followed aggregations which are also used by the "Panorama of European Businesses" publication of Eurostat. The configuration was primarily guided by the aim of producing results relevant to tracking the dynamics of the economy as a whole as well as with the intention of covering the most important features of e-business provision and adoption in Europe. In the second phase (2003/04), 10 sectors of the economy were covered, 5 from manufacturing and 5 from service industries.
The rather broad aggregation of different business activities into sectors made it possible to cover a broad spectrum of the economy, but also caused some challenges for the analysis of e-business developments. For instance, it was hardly possible to focus down on individual sub-sectors in much detail within a single sector report.
The selection and definition of sectors proposed for 2005 reflect these concerns. In fact, four out of the ten sectors proposed are sub-sectors that were part of (aggregated) sectors analysed in 2002-2004. The rationale for "zooming in" on former sub-sectors is that the broad picture for the whole sector is now available from previous sector studies, and that it appears to be the right time within the prospective life-cycle of the e-Business [email protected] to focus the analysis on more specific business activities. In the concrete, the following sectors that are proposed for 2005 are parts of formerly aggregated sectors:
Taking these general considerations about the level of aggregation into account, the following primary and secondary selection criteria have been applied:
A quantitative benchmarking or ranking of all possible sectors and sector aggregations according to these selection criteria is not possible. The articulated interest in results is based on impressions and discussions at events and on feed-back on sector studies and reports. In that sense, the selection criteria should be considered as guidelines which the e-Business [email protected] used in co-ordination with the European Commission to draw up the list. There is no attempt to rationalise the selection in the same way it was done in 2003, where a more rigid method with quantitative metrics was used ("importance for the economy").