Thomas Register and Thomas Regional announced the results of the March Industrial Purchasing Barometer (IPB) Survey, revealing that more than half of industrial buyers source at least 21% of their purchases online. Additionally, 16% source more than half of their purchasing online.

The recently expanded IPB survey was conducted randomly among Thomas Register's pool of 700,000 opt-in online users and Thomas Regional's Directory's pool of 375,000 opt-in online users. Survey respondents represent manufacturing and engineering segments, as well as wholesale trade, distribution, service providers and government agencies.

"These results demonstrate the positive impact the Internet has had on increasing efficiencies throughout the industrial buying process," said Eileen Markowitz, president, Thomas Regional Directory Co. "As the buying process becomes more complex, the Internet increasingly helps buyers gain better access to information and simplifies the order and payment process."

Thomas Regional ( focuses on connecting industrial buyers and sellers in local markets across the country.* ( provides sourcing information on more than 75,000 industrial products and services from thousands of manufacturers.

Separately, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) and Forrester Research also reported that adoption of the Internet for purchasing is marching onward. In their 10th ISM/Forrester Research "Report On e-Business" for the first quarter of 2003 nearly twice as many large-volume purchasers reported that the Internet is critical in their overall purchasing plans -- from 11.3% in Q4 2002, to 20.5% in the Q1 2003.

"In light of the poor economic conditions, companies are relying on the Internet more and more to make their business processes and relationships as efficient and productive as possible," said Jennifer Chew, senior analyst at Forrester.

The ISM/Forrester survey found that manufacturers consistently rely upon Internet transactions more than non- manufacturing businesses. Moreover, 58.7% of manufacturers indicated they used the Internet to collaborate with suppliers, a modest 0.9% increase over the previous quarter. The online capabilities of preferred suppliers were rated as very good or excellent by 10.6% of manufacturers surveyed, while 52.8% rated them good and 36.6% very bad or poor.