Monday, October 21 14:33:55
Nearly a quarter of firms in Ireland are missing out on valuable online sales by shying away from e-commerce, according to results of the latest Close Brothers Business Barometer.
The quarterly survey, which seeks to canvass the opinion of SME owners across the UK and Ireland, further revealed that, while the majority of respondents in Ireland claim to understand the Internet's potential for expanding their business, less than five per cent of companies in the region currently conduct more than half of their business online.
Managing Director for Close Brothers Commercial Finance (Ireland), Harry Parkinson, said: "Research shows that online sales are forecast to increase from E3.7 billion in 2012 to E5.7 billion in 2016. This figure demonstrates how small businesses could miss out on opportunities for strategic advantage if they don't embrace the online marketplace sooner rather than later.
"E-commerce provides a wealth of opportunities for SMEs to market their products to a wider audience and increase the potential for exports.
"With half of Ireland mobile Internet users now owning a smartphone, the growth in mobile devices is reforming the way consumers shop. As increasing numbers of people now make purchases at the click of a button, a growing 'armchair economy' is emerging in Ireland, and what's more, shoppers now expect to be able to buy online.
"It could be that some smaller businesses feel they lack the technical expertise to engage in e-commerce but in actual fact, it's now possible to manage a professional online shop at a relatively low cost.
"By failing to harness the power of the Internet, Irish firms could be falling short of their full potential," he added.