Jan. 31, 2005--After wrapping up a healthy year, America's manufacturing sector is looking toward the Internet to keep the party going in '05.

According to December's numbers, released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau, new orders, shipments and unfilled orders all finished up, closing out a solid year of growth.

"Last year was a positive year," Chris Savage, branch chief for the manufacturers' shipments, inventories and orders division of the bureau, said. "All signs point to a good year next year, also."

According to the report, shipments of durable goods increased $4.2 billion for December, up 2.1% from November. This increase capped a banner year of 10.5% growth and made 2004 the best year since the new standards established in lieu of NAFTA were implemented in 1992.

To keep the fete running strong, marketing executives from 80 different U.S. manufacturing firms said they plan on revamping or establishing e-business and online marketing ventures in the upcoming year, according to a study released by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and SVM E-Business Solutions.

The study sighted that half of those surveyed will be engaging in search engine marketing; slightly less said they would also be conducting e-mail marketing campaigns (45%) and 62% plan to recreate their websites in '05.

"After sitting on the e-business sidelines the past few years, manufacturers have decided to take a proactive stance toward the Internet," Bob DeStefano, president of SVM said. "Because of these aggressive marketing tactics, these companies are setting themselves up for great success in the future."

DeStefano also points out that once e-marketing systems are set up, they're virtually self-sustaining and should propel growth even further in years to come.

"Users can easily track the leads they get form these systems and they are extremely cost effective, compare to conventional marketing mediums."