Australian businesses made $321 billion online last year

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Australian businesses made $321 billion online last year

A study of 799,000 thousand businesses by the Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed positive but slow growth in the areas of web and social media presence and an upward trend of innovation.

The ABS’ Australian Business Use of Information Technology and Innovation report, released last week, compares three periods, from 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16. The report surveyed internet access, connection types, business presence online, the amount of commerce performed online and innovations across introducing or improving goods and services, operational processes, managerial processes and marketing as well as whether innovation activity had been abandoned or was still in process.

In the most recent survey period, of years 2015-16, most businesses unsurprisingly had internet access, at 95 percent. Of those, 99.3 percent used broadband.

While almost every business uses a broadband internet connection, the number of businesses with an online presence has only recently surpassed 50 percent, now at just 50.1 percent. The web presence rates in the two proceeding years were 48.6 percent and 47.1 percent, respectively.

By industry, arts and recreation services had the highest proportion of businesses with a web presence at 76 percent, while the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry had the lowest proportion of businesses with a web presence at 12 percent.

Looking to social media, 38.2 percent of Australian businesses had a presence, up from 34 percent and 30.8 percent in the two survey period prior. The ABS reports the highest proportion of businesses with a social media presence was recorded in the 200 or more persons employed range at 81 percent, followed by businesses employing between 20 and 199 people, at 63 percent.

In buying and selling done online, during 2015-16, 57 percent of Australian businesses placed orders online, while 37 percent received orders for their own products and services over the internet. Income generated from customers ordering online from businesses totalled an estimated $321 billion.

In the ABS’ summary of Australian business innovation across the same period, 48.7 percent of businesses reported undertaking innovation activity in 2015-16. Manufacturing, retail trade and the arts and recreation services industries had the highest proportion of innovation-active businesses, all at 58 percent.

The ABS reports that 43 percent of businesses overall introduced one form of innovation, and that it was generally in organisational or managerial processes, with 23 percent of innovating businesses focusing here.

24 percent of businesses, almost one in four, were still reported to be in the process of innovating, with marketing methods the type of innovation most likely to still be in development at the time of survey.

The ABS’ report and further stats breakdowns are available here.

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