Hunter businesses need to get connected
Results of the Hunter Research Foundation’s (HRF) June 2014 survey into use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) show that Hunter businesses are slow to engage with the growing digital economy.
The global digital economy is here and offers boundless opportunity for those businesses that are connected and engaged. Hunter consumers are certainly online, with more than 8 out of 10 Hunter households purchasing goods and services via the internet in the 12 months to June 2014.
However, while 92% of Hunter businesses can access the internet – on a par with the most recently published national figures – only 57% of those had a dedicated website, lagging the national figure for SMEs (64%). Of those using their websites, 52% advertised their goods and services but only 27% took orders, lower than the latest national figure of 30%.
Other headline findings from the HRF survey:
• 37% of Hunter companies used social media to market their businesses, comparing well to the latest national SME figure (May 2013) of 26%
• In the 12 months to June, Hunter businesses used the in-ternet to:
- do their banking online (79%) and pay bills (78%)
- conduct business-related research (72%)
- pay wages (59%)
- make online phone calls (17%)
- complete surveys (42%)
• While more than one-third of Hunter businesses didn’t think they needed to improve their ICT knowledge, the most commonly cited areas for education for those who did want to know more were:
- marketing via social networks (30%)
- developing a web presence (26%)
- accepting payments through websites (20%)
- utilising cloud-based solutions (17%)
HRF’s Hunter Businesses and digital technology infographic can be viewed at www.hvrf.com.au