IEDR: Sixth of Irish companies still have no online presence

David Curtin, IEDR
David Curtin, IEDR

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17 June 2016 | 0

One in six Irish SMEs still have no website, social media account, or any online presence whatsoever, according this year’s IE Domain Registry (IEDR) dot ie Digital Health Index.

The research, commissioned by IEDR and undertaken by Ignite Research 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. Of that, 60% of 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 the expertise to manage one.

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

Encouragingly, however, the number of Irish SMEs with a website is up from 65% to 72%, while the number of SMEs that have the capacity to process sales online is up from 8% to 19%.

Indeed, while one in six SMEs remain offline, this is a decrease from one in four as per the last dot ie Digital Health Index back in 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 (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.

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”.

“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 David Curtin, chief executive, IEDR (pictured).

“Though the number of offliners has dropped since the last dot ie Digital Health Index in September last year, the fact that 55% of SMEs with no intention of building a website still see no need for one indicates that many do not fully appreciate the business-transforming power of a website, including how it can open up new revenue streams. In 20th century terms, it’s like being ex-directory from the telephone book.

“For many SMEs, the will to build a website is not the issue; lack of expertise and infrastructural problems, however, are.

“In particular, lacklustre broadband in many parts of the country remains a profoundly important issue for Irish SMEs… Ultimately, this ongoing problem will only serve to widen the digital divide, hamper economic development in rural counties and push money out of the Irish economy.”

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