Small Business Dependence on the Internet

Small Business Dependence on the Internet

An ACNielsen survey of small business owners or decision makers who made a business purchase on eBay within the past 12 months, and general small business executives, about their growth plans and Internet usage, found that nearly 90% of the eBay group uses the Internet to research business purchases, and 80% access industry expertise online.

Comparing the eBay sample to the non-eBay users, the eBay purchasers are more likely to expect their business to grow, expect expansion of the number of offices/locations, and expect the number of full-time employees to grow. Also, only 2% of the eBay group says the economic climate is the most important factor in making their company more competitive or successful, compared to 7% of non-eBay executives.

US Small Business Attitude Toward Internet 2004 (% respondents)

General Small BusinesseBay Small Business Non-eBaySmall Business
Helped business grow/expand58%82%57%
Helped business become more profitable517949
Helped business reduce costs497845
Business relies on Internet to survive153114
Internet has no impact on business331534

Source: ACNielsen, March 2004

The biggest challenges for SMBs in the manufacturing and retail industries, are cutting costs, streamlining business processes and managing market conditions. According to the ACNielsen study, eBay users are using the Internet to help with precisely those sorts of challenges.

Major Business Related Challenges (% respondents)

Need to lower costs54%47%
Need to improve efficiency5137
Manage changing competitive and market conditions4334
Conform to suppliers' demand to be online3318
Lack of real-time information1518
Difficult to forecast and budget1226

Source: Yankee Group March, 2004

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