Perth, despite its mining-centric reputation, is the top urban location and Byron Shire in NSW is the best regional area when it comes to Australia’s burgeoning ‘digital economy’, according to Google.
The Western Australian capital and the NSW district took out the respective top spots in Google Australia’s new eTown Awards, which were unveiled yesterday.
The City of Yarra in Victoria, Adelaide, North Sydney and Ryde in NSW made up the rest of the top five urban digital pacesetters.
Meanwhile, Meander Valley in Tasmania, Cessnock in NSW, Wingecarribee Shire in NSW and Scenic Rim Regional Council in Queensland were named in the top five regional areas.
According to Deloitte Access Economics, Australia’s digital economy is worth as much as the country’s iron ore exports and will grow by $20 billion to $70 billion by 2016.
The Google eTown Awards is a new initiative designed to recognise the communities of small businesses that are using the internet to grow, acquire and connect with customers.
Federal Small Business Minister Brendan O’Connor, who launched the awards, says: “The digital economy is fuelling Australia’s economic growth and it’s important businesses of every size are well equipped to take advantage of the potential.”
“I hope this award encourages other small businesses to get online to connect with people who are actively looking for their products and services.”
The results are based on data that is collated and analysed through businesses who advertise with Google AdWords or websites that have been created using Google’s free service and the MYOB Getting Aussie Business Online initiative.
Johnny Luu, communications manager for Google Australia and New Zealand, says Perth’s victory was a surprise but that the increased number of small businesses has contributed to the result.
“A lot of small businesses are coming up in Perth and I guess the reason why Perth is the biggest contributor is because people recognise the quality of an online presence,” he says.
“It is interesting that Perth is not only in the lead for mining, but now also Perth businesses are actively grabbing hold of the digital boom.”
Google says the web is transforming all businesses in Australia, not just those typically considered to be “internet businesses”.
The growth in start-ups’ online opportunities were further underlined by new research out yesterday from Getprice, which revealed that online shopping on a mobile device is at least a weekly occurrence for the majority of people, with more than a quarter shopping at least once a day.
It is also the third most popular mobile activity, trumping search engines and only behind reading news and social networking.
David Whiteman, director of product and marketing at Getprice, says current trends present challenges but also many opportunities for retailers.
“It is now a ‘consumer’s market’ where retailers need to adapt to suit ever-changing consumption behaviours,” he says.