Many small businesses are not making full use of the internet and are slowing down their adaptation of new services online.
The annual Sensis e-Business report of the online experience of small and medium business shows that the latest usage of applications has showed very little change over the last year and in some critical areas has fallen backwards.
The report found that 78% of SMEs look for information of products and services online, compared to in 82% in 2007. And those using online auction sites fell to12% from 16% the year before. Accessing directories such as the Yellow Pages fell back slightly to 70% of SMEs, from 72% the year before.
Fewer businesses are using email marketing: 25% compared to 27% last year. Author Christena Singh says caution about spam rules might have caused the fall.
The use of online catalogues also fell, although using the internet to get reference information on research data rose slightly.
The largest rise was using a website to advertise or promote a business, which increased to 53% from 50%, and to receive payments for products and services online, which jumped from 52% to 55%.
All in all, it is a depressing picture for small and medium business. While most use the internet to communicate via email, do internet banking and get reference information, only half promote their business on their website and only 38% use the internet to monitor their competition.