RealTime IT News

Online Orders from Small Businesses Up 95%

About 427,000 small businesses have gone online between the first quarters of 1998 and 1999, and the number that placed online orders jumped about 95 percent during the past 12 months, according to a new industry survey.

The U.S. Small Business Internet Survey from market research firm Cyber Dialogue also found that 56 percent of small businesses online today regard the Internet as "essential" to their success. Among small businesses that accept online orders, 71 percent say the Internet is essential to their success.

"Online small businesses have greatly increased their dependence on the Internet in the past six months," said Thomas E. Miller, Cyber Dialogue vice president. "In addition to selling online, entrepreneurs are comparison shopping for business suppliers online just like consumers, and nearly half of all online small businesses expect to save costs by using the Internet."

About half of U.S. small businesses that sell online say online sales have met or exceeded their expectations. Sixty percent of those that accept orders on their Web sites report sales gains due to their online presence amounting to about 23 percent of total company sales, according to the survey.

"Small businesses are using the Internet to create opportunities: 50 percent of Internet sales are from new customers," Miller said.

Cyber Dialogue pegs the total value of small business online orders the past 12 months at $19.0 billion, up 67 percent from $11.4 billion in early 1998.

The U.S. Small Business Internet Survey was conducted in the first quarter of 1999. More than 1,000 small business decision-makers were interviewed in-depth. The survey is co-branded with Find/SVP.