SMEs are still failing to join online revolution, says study

New survey shows one in six small and medium-sized companies are offline

Some 19 per cent of SMEs are still unable to process sales online, either through a website of third-party platform. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Some 19 per cent of SMEs are still unable to process sales online, either through a website of third-party platform. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

 

Irish businesses are still not actively engaging in ecommerce and a sixth of small and medium-sized enterprises do not even have an online presence, a new survey shows.

The dot ie digital health index from Ireland’s domain registry, IE Domain Registry (IEDR), shows that more than half of those companies without a website have no intention of building one, with the majority saying they do not need one or do not have enough time or expertise to do so.

Some 27 per cent of the 500 SMEs surveyed for the study said that a poor internet connection was preventing them from getting online.

While the number of SMEs online is still low, things are improving.

Currently, 17 per cent of SMEs are offline, compared with 25 per cent last September.

Moreover, the number of companies with a website rose from 65 per cent to 72 per cent over the same period, while the percentage of firms with ecommerce capability grew from 8 per cent to 19 per cent.

Nonetheless, some 19 per cent of SMEs are still unable to process sales online, either through a website of third-party platform.

In addition, some 74 per cent of SMEs surveyed said all of their revenue is currently generated offline.

According to the survey, 79 per cent of consumers surveyed said they found it frustrating to discover that a business they wanted to buy from was offline.

“While more Irish SMEs than ever have a website, one in six still have no online presence whatsoever – no contact details, no product listings and no social-media accounts. This is despite the fact that we live in an internet age where nearly every Irish consumer goes online to find out more about a business and look to make purchases,” said IEDR chief executive David Curtin.

“Irish consumers spent €6.5 billion online in 2015, and they are more than happy to look abroad for products if they can’t get them here,” he added.