Irish small and medium businesses have no website

Based on IEDR’s latest research, 22% of Irish small and medium businesses have no website or online presence.

Research released by the Irish Domain Registry shows that Irish businesses are still having difficulties in getting their companies online. Currently 22% of Irish small and medium businesses have no website or social media profile.

Of the remaining 88% of SMEs that do have a website or online profile, 52% use some form of social media and only 20% have the ability to sell products, services, and take payments.

Of the SMEs surveyed 86% have less than 10 employees. Surveys were completed with 2,511 businesses in line with CSO national enterprise profiles.

Offline Businesses

While offline SMEs acknowledge the value of an online profile the reasons cited for not engaging are : Time 38%; lack of know-how, ability & skills 28%; Finance 27%; Poor broadband 17%; Security concerns 16%.

Plot 1

There is another reason given by offline SMEs for not engaging in online activities. They claim there is no need in their industry to have an online profile. Only 44% of offline SMEs believe a website is important in driving awareness of their business, while 66% of offline SMEs have no plans to build a website at all.

Currently 90% of Irish consumers now use search engines to find information. If your business has no online presence you are losing out on a potentially huge audience.

If you hire a good local developer who clearly answers all of your questions, and supports you and your business, the time and know-how reasons are easy to solve. Security is the same: your developer should be able to build a solid and safe system for you to use. Many security tools are now common place, and are often employed on all types of websites.

Poor broadband is a major issue for many businesses in Ireland. If you are looking for business website that only needs occasional updating, then even a poor broadband connection might be enough to allow you to do this.

Finance is a harder point, but your business may qualify for an online trading voucher, or check some of our services. Over a 3 or 4 year period, the growth and extra sales you gain will outstrip any of the costs of building a website.

The Irish Online Shopping Market

€9bn was spent online in Ireland in 2016. Only 26% was with Irish operators. If more Irish businesses were selling and promoting themselves online, local businesses would benefit.

With 94% of Irish consumers buying products or services online, we lead the way in online spending. Of the Irish consumers that do shop online 24% do so at least once a week, 43% at least once a month. The average monthly spend of these consumers is €108.00 per a month.

When Irish consumers are trying to find information about products or services, 90% look online first. 85% of Irish consumers surveyed would prefer to buy from Irish sellers. With changes in search engines, a local seller will always have an advantage over an international seller in attracting customers.

Online Businesses

81% of online SMEs said their websites are important in driving future growth. 77% as a driver for sales and 57% as a point of transaction to process sales.

When a business has an online presence they often view their online profile as an important tool in driving sales and awareness. The Department of Communications, May 2016 report shows that when a company engages in a clear online strategy it does reap rewards:

  • 21% was the average increase in sales.
  • 84% experienced an increase in customer enquiries.
  • 73% said that the new online business did not displace existing sales, with growing businesses expected to recruit on average 1.4 more employees.
  • 3 out of 5 businesses begin to export.
  • 89% said that the online trading part of their business will become more important in the next six months.

What to do?

If you own a business and are considering looking into creating a website there are a number of options you can consider:

  1. Who is the audience/customer?
  2. What is the information I need to get across?
  3. Your competitors, and what are they doing online.
  4. How am I going to manage/run a website?

For some businesses a simple brochure coverpage website, with some social media connections, might get more emails and phone calls.

For others, a full e-commerce online shop may be the answer. For businesses looking at online shops, they may have access to the trading online voucher scheme. 89% of SMEs have not accessed local enterprise offices web development vouchers. These vouchers can cover up to 50% of the development costs.

If you have any questions on getting your business online let us know by filling out the form below.