More Welsh SMEs see benefit of e-commerce, broadband: "The proportion of Welsh SMEs with broadband access has more than doubled, according to the latest 'State of the Nation' report, which focuses on the adoption and the use of e-commerce by Welsh businesses."
The proportion of Welsh SMEs with broadband access has more than doubled, according to the executive summary of the latest 'State of the Nation' report produced by the eCommerce Innovation Centre.
The report focuses on the adoption and the use of e-commerce by Welsh businesses. Of the 2,537 SMEs surveyed, nearly three quarters use a computer and more than 65 per cent have an internet connection.
Classifying businesses as 'narrowband' or 'broadband' users reveals that 58 per cent of connected Welsh SMEs have a broadband internet connection - more than double the mere 25 per cent reported to have a broadband connection in the 2003/2004 report. ADSL broadband appears to be the preferred internet connection method among SMEs of all sizes.
When it comes to internet access and website implementation, medium-sized businesses are more advanced than micro- and small businesses. Likewise, SMEs based in non-Objective 1 areas perform better than SMEs based in the Objective 1 areas.
64 per cent of SMEs in the Objective 1 area have an Internet connection compared to 69.7 per cent in non-Objective 1 areas; 55 per cent of SMEs in the Objective 1 area have a company website, compared to 60 per cent in non-Objective 1 areas;
Monmouthshire and Newport feature the greatest number of connected SMEs, closely followed by Swansea and Bridgend and then Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.
In terms of industry sectors, professional services indicate the highest level of internet connection (92.3 per cent), mostly broadband users. At the other end of the spectrum is the agricultural sector (22.2 per cent), with nearly two thirds of those using dial up connections.
Paradoxically, the hotels and restaurants industry, which uses the internet to accept online payments and attract customers, depends largely on dial-up internet access.
Over 40 per cent of connected businesses plan to expand their use of e-commerce. Main benefits of e-commerce perceived by SMEs include increased customer base (31 per cent), more efficient internal processes (21.2 per cent) and increased opportunities to reach overseas markets (29.6 per cent).
Other findings show that nearly half of the SMEs surveyed stated that there were no barriers to e-commerce for their business. However, less than 10 per cent of connected businesses allow customers to make payments online while just over a third make payments online themselves, suggesting that SMEs haven’t yet exploited e-commerce to its full potential.
The full report is expected to be released online via the Opportunity Wales website, though no date for publication has been provided as yet.