Online SMBs see 41 percent of turnover from web

Small businesses with an online presence reap almost half their average turnover from the internet, according to study by Telstra and the Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA).

The study of 1000 small businesses found that of the 36 percent of small businesses with a website, six in ten (63 percent) are selling products or services online.

According to the study’s authors, it “validates anecdotal evidence that Australian small business is much more nimble in seizing online opportunities than the top end of town.”

“It also showed the sector saw the broader use of technology as critical to their business success.”

Telstra Executive Director Small Business Charles Agee said a shift in the way local business operates is occurring, and small to business businesses are leading the way.

“While there’s been much debate about online shoppers buying products overseas, the move online by small Australian retailers and service-based companies has developed from a ripple into a wave.”

The Telstra Business-COSBOA research also found:

  • Almost seven in ten (67 percent) small businesses with a website regard it as important or very important;
  • The proportion of turnover online is strongest in the Transport and Storage (55.4 percent), Accommodation, Cafes, Restaurant and Travel (53.8 percent) and Retail (52.3 percent) segments of small business;
  • Internet commerce uptake is higher in regional-based small businesses (67 percent) than those in metropolitan areas (62 percent);
  • More SMEs in Queensland (43 percent) have an online presence than any other state, with NSW (39 percent) and Tasmania, NT and ACT (37 percent) not far behind.

Agee said it’s clear the small business industry has recognised the importance of broader technology to help them achieve their business objectives.

“Communications and ICT services are seen as either very important or important for the day to day for 85 percent of the small business.”

Of those businesses planning to spend more this year, 42 percent plan to spend on ICT, with the drivers being to upgrade to newer technology, increase productivity and enhance customer service. Other big areas of expenditure are marketing (46 percent) and plant and equipment (45 percent).

“The research also shows 89 percent of small businesses see work life balance as very important or important. Earlier research shows there is a clear link between both issues, with technology such as smart phones, tablets and wireless broadband being an enabler of more flexible working,” Agee added.

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