Sector selection criteria

Primary selection criteria

The selection of sectors to be analysed with respect to their use of e-business in 2003/04 was primarily based on the economic importance of the various sectors for the European economy and the relative importance of electronic business within the sector, as far as information about the importance was already available.

(a) The economic importance of the sectors for the EU economy: For the representation of e-business impacts in the economy as a whole, "large" sectors play a major role, since changes in their production models, their purchasing and marketing behaviour as well as their productivity and dynamics of growth have a very major effect on the performance of the entire economy. The assessment of the economic importance is mainly based on two standard economic indicators: the sector's share of employment and the amount of value-added by the sector.

(b) The relative importance of electronic business within the sector: As the e-Business W@tch has demonstrated in the first phase (2002/03), the intensity and nature of ICT and e-business usage differs considerably between sectors. Some sectors, although still small in absolute terms, are growing rapidly and/or illustrate the role which ICT and electronic business may play in other sectors in the future. This distinction overlaps to a certain extent with what is commonly identified as the "old" and the "new" economy. For example, ICT services companies are typical representatives of the "new economy" with a comparatively small share of the overall economy, but in many respects representing the absolute e-business leader. The statistical proxy for the relative importance of e-business in a sector is the Pilot Index which was computed for 15 sectors , based on the eEurope 2005 E-Business Index.


Secondary selection criteria

In addition to these two fundamental criteria, some other selection criteria were applied in cases where the economic and e-business relevance appeared to be equal or similar. These criteria were:

  • Balance of business activities: There should be a balanced mix of manufacturing and service sectors. Sectors could include a public service sector for comparison.
  • The SME dimension continues to be very important. Sectors with a higher share of SMEs could therefore given priority over sectors where large companies dominate.
  • Policy relevance: The selection needs to consider the policy relevance from the perspective of DG ENTR, that is for which sectors the DG has responsibility.
  • Roll-out strategy: Some new sectors (not covered in 2002/03) should be included in order to broaden the monitoring scope of the e-Business W@tch. Among sectors with a comparable economic size, new sectors (not yet covered) may be given priority.

Sector selection in two steps

First step: Comparison of industry sectors with respect to basic economic indicators and e-business importance

Second step: Adjustments with respect to secondary criteria