New research carried out by the IE Domain Registry (IEDR) as part of their latest dot ie Digital Health Index shows that 1 in 6 Irish SMEs (17%) still have no website, social media account or any online presence whatsoever.
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.
It found that among those without a website, over half - 55% - said they had no intention of building one in the near future, 60% of offliners 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 expertise.
Despite the majority of SMEs expecting revenue to increase over the next 12 months almost 1 in 5 SMEs (19%) are able to process sales online, whether through a website or third-party platform.
The report indicates that for 74% of SMEs, the entirety of their revenue is generated completely offline. Indeed, the latest dot ie Digital Health Index suggests a strong digital divide with very low e-commerce capability in the micro-business (<10 staff) category.
The research found that 3 in 4 consumers (75%) said that they were more likely to purchase from a business that is online. Eighty eight per cent said they make payments online (38% weekly), 84% bank online (75% weekly) and 84% shop online (26% weekly).
Ninety per cent 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. Seventy nine per cent said it was “frustrating” while 71% said it was “extremely frustrating”.
Chief Executive of IEDR, David Curtin said, "Irish consumers spent €6.5 billion online in 2015, and they are more than happy to look abroad for products if they can’t get them here."
He added, "Indeed, the research for the dot ie Digital Health Index found that only a minority of Irish SMEs’ websites can take sales orders online (29%) and even fewer can process payments (25%). This is a glaring missed opportunity."