More Australian small businesses are using e-commerce to sell locally than overseas, according to the Australian Small Business (SMB) Key Statistics Report released today by the Minister for Small Business Nick Sherry.
The report was compiled using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and other sources.
It found that 86 per cent of small businesses use e-commerce to sell within their own city or town, 51 per cent sell elsewhere in their state and 49 per cent sell outside of their state but still within Australia. Meanwhile, 24 per cent sell overseas.
The report stated that generally, the farther away a customer is from the business, the less likely the business would sell to them.
This trend also continued for medium businesses, even though they generated more sales across more areas. Of them, 88 per cent sold within the same city or town, 55 per cent in their state, 54 per cent interstate and 30 per cent overseas.
It appears that these sales are also paying for themselves. Of those businesses that had made in an investment in e-commerce, 63 per cent reported that they had already recovered their costs this year. There were 24 per cent that thought they would recover their costs either next year or in the next one to two years. Just 7 per cent thought that it would take longer than that, and 8 per cent weren't expecting to recover their costs at all.
Despite smaller businesses having the most to gain on a fast return on investment, most aren't making the most of the internet for placing or receiving orders, with many not even having a presence on the web.
Only 29.2 per cent of micro businesses, defined as consisting of up to four people, have a web presence at all, and even less, 21 per cent, receive orders via the internet.
Web presence and online orders improved with larger businesses. Of those with five to 19 persons, just over half had a web presence, and just under 30 per cent were receiving orders through the internet. Businesses with between 20 and 199 employees had a web presence 73 per cent of the time, and 33.5 per cent were receiving orders through the internet.
Almost all — 94 per cent — of businesses with 200 or more employees had a web presence, but the number of businesses receiving orders via the internet were still relatively low — 33.8 per cent.