'

Australian SMEs winners and competitors

A new survey shows Australian SMEs are leading some areas of Internet usage, but they still have some ground to make up on the Americans.

A new survey shows Australian SMEs are leading some areas of Internet usage, but they still have some ground to make up on the Americans.

Australia’s Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SME) are leading arch rivals America in Business-to-Consumer Internet usage and equal to them in usage, according to a recent survey. Conducted by Taylor Nelson Sofres Australia, the survey questioned 474 companies in Australia, America and France.

It found that Australia’s business’ are ‘substantially’ ahead of America in business-to-consumer activity and using the Internet for supply chain management. A healthy 82 percent deal or market to their customers on the Internet, only 61 percent of Americans and 48 percent of French businesses do the same.

Australians were also the most likely to use wireless technology, with 30 percent accessing the Web sans cable, whilst the French in mobile friendly Europe recorded 27 percent and America just behind on wireless Internet access at 26 percent.

“These findings are impressive and are broadly similar to those of our global consumer e-commerce study,” Martin James MD of Taylor Nelson Sofres said.

But, Australia needs to make up significant ground on Internet selling as well as training, where the United States leads Australia. The survey found that less than two in 10 SMEs on the Web were selling their services on the Web, 29 percent of American SMEs and 11 percent of French use the Web to retail.

Marketing departments in Australia are on the ball though, lagging America by just two percent. Similarly knowledge management and customer relationship levels on the Internet in Australia are not that far behind America.

The study questioned SME IT decision makers between June and September of this year. Four key areas of e-commerce and Internet usage were focused on, including; current and planned wireless usage, a year’s evaluation of the Internet, external resources used and the Internet and e-commerce functions used by these companies.

France was chosen as Taylor Nelson Sofres felt it is more representative of Europe. The company will be conducting a similar survey next year with a far broader sweep of countries according to Rob Keller, Group Account Director said.