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Two-thirds of SMEs have a website and of those, 26% are mobile optimised websites, up from 17% last year.

The Sensis® e-Business Report 2014 is a survey of 1,800 Australian small and medium business owners and 1,000 consumers about their use of online technologies.

Download the Sensis® e-Business Report 2014 here.

Now in its 19th year, it is a broad-reaching report that examines the use of smartphones, tablets and desktop computers, in addition to how Australians are using social media, online advertising and their buying and selling behaviours.

The findings this year are almost a quantum leap from the first Yellow Pages Special Report into Technology which detailed the use of fax machines, modems and CD ROMs in 1995.

During that year Bill Clinton was the US President, shoulder pads were standard business attire and the most common piece of technology in a business was the fax machine, which 85% of small businesses owned.

This year’s report indicates 98% of small and medium businesses (SMEs) own a computer while 95% of Australian SMEs are online with broadband access. The biggest growth in technology was tablets with more than half SMEs owning one.

Two-thirds of SMEs have a website and of those, 26% are mobile optimised websites, up from 17% last year. The industry with the highest number of websites was the accommodation, cafes and restaurant sector at 87%.

Given the number of Australians who now own a smartphone is 76%, it is significant to note that 69% of SMEs with websites reported they had improved the effectiveness of their business.

For those who did not have a website, half had some other form of internet presence with 32% having a listing in a business directory and 11% having a social media presence.

Increasingly businesses are recognising the importance of social media with more than 39% using social media in their business with the most common platform being Facebook.

There was solid growth in digital advertising in the past 12 months with more than 30% of SMEs using the internet for display advertising. Unpaid search engine optimisation (SEO) activities were reported by 26% of SMEs although 17% now pay for SEO work.

Search engine marketing (SEM) was used by 26% of SMEs, up from 21% last year and social media continued to show strong growth also with 31% of SMEs paying for advertising on social platforms.

Australian SMEs have more technology and devices than ever before in 2014, but are spending less on them. Average expenditure in 2014 is expected to be $8,200, down $1,500 from the total spend of $9,700 in 2013.

 

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