Small businesses leaping on Internet

Growth in the number of New Zealand small businesses using the Internet continues apace, according to research company ACNielsen. A quarter of small businesses now have a Web presence.

Growth in the number of New Zealand small businesses using the Internet continues apace, according to a survey conducted earlier this year by market research company ACNielsen.

Nielsen's Small Business Internet Monitor 2000 survey interviewed 1500 small business financial decision makers nationally between May 15 and June 16.

Nielsen found the proportion of businesses with at least one PC has climbed from 78% to 84% over the 12 months preceding the survey, but the number with Internet access has grown even faster - up from 58% last year to 69% in 2000.

Of the businesses with Internet access, almost a quarter had engaged in “e-commerce” in the previous four weeks, says Nielsen. In other words, they had bought or sold something on the Internet during that period.

But Gary Martin, director of syndicated services for Nielsen in New Zealand, says the survey did not distinguish between those with a regular e-commerce link to suppliers and/or customers and those who had simply made incidental purchases.

Also on the rise is the proportion of small businesses putting up their own Web sites. A third of those with Internet access - a quarter of the entire sample – now have a Web presence. This again represents a substantial rise, says Martin; in last year’s survey only 15% of the total sample had a Web site.

Nielsen claims a correlation between small businesses using the Internet and those showing “signs of business success such as growth in turnover and intentions to grow.” But the survey did not indicate whether Internet use is spurring growth or vice-versa.

Nielsen also surveyed the ISPs used by small businesses. Xtra is the leader by a large margin, Martin says, with Clear Net in second place.

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