ABS Report Reveals Australian Businesses Aren’t Getting It

Two days ago the ABS produced a report on internet usage in Australia, revealing some pleasing statistics for online business overall.

According to the ABS, Australian businesses received $189 billion worth of online orders in 12 months, from 2010 to 2011 – an increase of 32 percent from the previous 12 month period. This shows impressive growth for all Australian businesses, especially in our current economy where spending is seen as low.

However, among the stats that show the industry as a whole is growing, there was a worrying statistic that probably caught my attention more:

Out of all Australian businesses, only 43 percent reported as having a website – this was up just three percent from the year before.

Less than half of Australian businesses have a website?! The ABS Internet Report stated that nearly all large businesses have a website (97 percent), and that the biggest disconnect is with the micro sector, where less than a third of these businesses have a website. The figures produced in the report take into account all Australian businesses (not just retailers), and it is perhaps this information that concerns me the most. In this day and age, how can the number of business with websites be so low when we have so much reliance on the internet?

Some worrying stats for local retailers:

Overall, the proportion of businesses that reported receiving internet orders increased to 28 percent – this is good – half or more than half of all wholesale (52 percent) and trade businesses (50 percent). The troubling figures for local retailers are that the retail sector reported only 35 percent of businesses receiving an order online, which means retail places 6th among industries receiving online orders.

Surely these are figures that, as an industry, we simply can’t be happy with.

As online retail grows at double digit figures year-on-year (as reported in the NAB Online Sales Index), our industry can not be satisfied with ranking 6th amongst industries who receive orders online. Nor can we be satisfied with 43 percent of Australian businesses having a website. These low figures further open doors to international businesses to come and occupy markets which should be being supplied by local businesses.

The time is right, and there are resources aplenty available to build websites; to build good websites that engage the online shopper,and provide information about a business that will help generate more business and stimulate the economy.

With more and more Australians doing their research online before buying something or even starting a project – more Australian businesses need to be represented in this space so that they too can capitalise on these changes in consumer-level research methodology.

If you’re looking for direction in planning your business’s path to online success, take a close look at Power Retail’s Power Up section for case profiles and best practice advice on every level of e-commerce concepts and technology.

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