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1 in 6 Irish SMEs, (17%), still have no web presence

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1 in 6 Irish SMEs still have no online presence whatsoever – dot ie Digital Health Index

  • Irish businesses are still not engaging in e-commerce, says latest dot ie Digital Health Index from IE Domain Registry, despite majority of Irish consumers buying and transacting online;
  • Poor broadband infrastructure is keeping 1 in 4 SMEs without a website offline;
  • Over half of Irish offline SMEs have no intention of building a website in the near future;
  • 71% of Irish consumers find it “extremely frustrating” when a business is not online; 3 in 4 say they are more likely to purchase from a business that is online;
  • The dot ie Digital Health Index is at 45.5 in April 2016 (up from 37.4 in May 2014).

1 in 6 Irish SMEs, or 17%, still have no website, social media account, or any online presence whatsoever, according to research by the IE Domain Registry (IEDR) as part of their latest dot ie Digital Health Index.

The research, commissioned in April 2016, measured the health of 500 Irish SMEs’ digital presence by analysing the number of digital assets (like websites, apps and social media accounts) owned by them, and their perceived quality.

Among those without a website, over half – 55% – said they had no intention of building one in the near future. 60% of offliners said there was “no need” to have a website within their industry; 35% said that they didn’t have enough time to build one; and 9% said they lacked expertise.

Access to adequate broadband infrastructure continues to be a significant problem for many SME ‘offliners’, that is, those without an online presence.  More than 1 in 4 of this group, or 27%, said that a poor internet connection is preventing them getting online.

Improvements in website and social media use

Encouragingly, however, the number of Irish SMEs with a website is up from 65% to 72%, while the number of SMEs that have web sales ability is up 11 percentage points, from 8% to 19%.

Indeed, while 1 in 6 SMEs remain offline, this is a decrease from 1 in 4, or 25%, as per the last dot ie Digital Health Index (September 2015).

SMEs with a Facebook page and Twitter profile numbered 48% and 21% respectively, while those with a YouTube and LinkedIn account increased to 7% (from 3%) and 23% (from 16%).

Over half of SMEs, or 55%, that use social media said that they proactively post to their business’s social media pages, while more than 4 in 5 of those SMEs, or 77%, said that it has had a positive impact on their business growth.

E-commerce activity

Despite the majority of SMEs expecting revenue to increase over the next 12 months, almost 1 in 5 SMEs, or 19%, are able to process sales online, whether through a website or third-party platform. While this is an increase from 8% in the last research wave (September 2015), the report still indicates that for 74% of SMEs, the entirety of their revenue is generated completely offline.  Indeed, the latest dot ie Digital Health Index suggests a strong digital divide with very low e-commerce capability in the micro-business (<10 staff) category.

Consumer frustration

IEDR also surveyed 1,000 Irish adults as part of this latest report and found that 90% of consumers go online to find out more about a business. The majority said they were annoyed when a business does not have an online presence: 79% said it was “frustrating” while 71% said it was “extremely frustrating”.

Consumers are transacting more online: 88% said they make payments online (38% weekly); 84% bank online (75% weekly); and 84% shop online (26% weekly).

In fact, 3 in 4 consumers, or 75%, said that they were more likely to purchase from a business that is online.


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