Extra $42b revenue garnered from the web in 2008-09: ABS

Australian businesses' income over the Internet rises 52 per cent, but still less than half the total are online

Income derived over the Internet for Australian businesses soared by 52 per cent in the 2008-09 financial year to reach a total $123 billion, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

In its most recent Summary of IT Use and Innovation in Australian Business report based on the Business Characteristics Survey (BCS), the ABS said an additional 25,000 businesses received orders over the Internet in the last financial year compared to the 2007-08 period.

In total, 193,000 businesses use the Internet to receive orders representing just 27 per cent of the total. Wholesale trade and manufacturing represented the most active sectors, with 45.4 per cent and 43.7 per cent of companies using online ordering systems to drive business.

In contrast, only 11.2 per cent of businesses in the Health Care and Social Assistance sector, and 14.3 per cent of mining companies, use the Internet to receive orders. Notably, the Information, Media and Telecommunications sector had only 35.1 per cent drawing revenue over the Internet.

Small businesses (0-4 persons) lagged those with more than five employees in using the Internet to obtain revenue, with only 23.5 per cent receiving orders and 31.2 per cent having a web presence.

The larger the company, the more likely they were to have a web presence and to be receiving revenue over the Net – 53.3 per cent of businesses with 5-19 persons had a web presence and 31.8 of those used it to receive orders, whereas 95.1 per cent of companies with more than 200 employees had a web presence. Yet only 35.9 per cent of companies in this latter bracket used the Net to receive orders.

In total, the number of businesses having a web presence rose from 36 per cent in the previous financial year to 41.5 per cent.

In January, the Federal Government tipped in an extra $4 million to help fund a program to bring small businesses online.

First announced in the 2009/10 budget, the Small Business Online program — initially funded with $10 million — will provide between $50,000 and $700,000 in grants to 47 small business support groups. The money will help small businesses set up or upgrade their websites to take advantage of the planned National Broadband Network (NBN).

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