Stats Watch: Businesses fall short of online targets

New Zealand businesses are not achieving their online aims, according to early findings of a study by the University of Waikato's management school.

Average expectations of growth in sales, purchase, total product listings being done online:

2001: 15%

2002: 11%

Computer use: 95.3%

Companies with websites: 63.6%

Total: 1058 businesses

Source: University of Waikato business school

New Zealand businesses are not achieving their online aims, according to early findings of a study by the University of Waikato’s management school.

Last year the school surveyed the e-business practices of 1229 New Zealand-based organisations. On the whole it found companies had taken to the internet but were not using it for much more than listing products. Only 6% of businesses were conducting online purchases or sales through their sites.

This year’s survey of 1058 New Zealand-based businesses (a 19.2% response rate) across all industries —to be released in mid-June — found that computer use has increased 2.9% to 95.3% while the percentage of companies with websites has risen by 8.8% to 63.6%. But rather than the transaction processing abilities of websites going up, functionality has increased in the areas of communication — company information and customer services, for example.

Average expectations of growth over the next two years, moreover, across online sales, purchases and the proportion of listed total product lines, have fallen from 15% to 11%.

More interestingly, reports research leader Professor Delwyn Clark, estimates from 2001 have not been achieved, suggesting businesses may have been too optimistic: “These seem more realistic estimates so the trimming back is appropriate”.

Perhaps providing secure transactions is proving harder than imagined. Only one in five sites could offer this capability last year, despite it receiving the highest mean importance rating of businesses polled.

Clark says the motivations for initiating e-business activities have increased in the areas of increasing efficiency, streamlining business processes and reducing costs.

The full report will be unveiled at “Information and Communication Technologies in New Zealand: Innovations and Consequences” in Wellington on June 10. It will be held at the Air New Zealand suite at the Wellington Town Hall. Email margie@mngt.waikato.ac.nz.

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