The development of electronic commerce and online services offers enormous potential for beneficial economic, social and societal change.
The Internet economy creates 2.6 jobs for every "off-line" job lost, and offers a better choice to consumers, including those in rural and isolated areas. The gains brought by lower online prices and a wider choice of available products and services are estimated at EUR 11.7 billion, equivalent to 0.12 % of European GDP.
If 15 % of retail sales were e-commerce and the obstacles to the internal market were removed, the gains for consumers might be as much as EUR 204 billion, or 1.7 % of European GDP. The European Commission finds, however, that there are many obstacles preventing consumers and businesses from investing fully in online services: ignorance or uncertainty about the applicable rules, offers that lack transparency and are hard to compare, and payments and modes of delivery that are often expensive and unsuitable.