RealTime IT News

Small Business Internet Use Exploding

A new report says 64 percent of small businesses are currently using the Internet and another 10 percent expect to be online in the next 12 months, a 150 percent increase from only 12 months ago.

The new research is from the second wave of The Kelsey Group/ConStat's Local Commerce Monitor, a nationwide survey of U.S. businesses with fewer than 100 employees.

"Because of relatively inexpensive computers and Internet access, along with the fact that other small businesses are getting online, we are seeing a fundamental transformation in the way small companies in America are conducting business," said Neal Polachek, senior vice president, research and consulting for The Kelsey Group.

"Even more interesting is that of those small businesses with Internet access, more than 30 percent access the Internet via a high-speed connection."

The study also reports 81 percent of all small businesses have a PC, and of those with online access, 70 percent are using the Internet to contact their suppliers and 44 percent are using the Internet for making purchases.

Polachek said that the Internet's primary function will ultimately be facilitating businesses' operations and interactions, not just advertising and promotion.

"The way that small-business owners are deliberately deciding to use e-stamps instead of going to the post office and paying their bills online rather than going to the bank illustrates the impact that technology, particularly the Internet, is having on local businesses," Polachek said.

"The relationships between small businesses and their suppliers and consumers are undergoing major changes," said Bill Deaton, managing director of ConStat. "While the small business owner is rapidly adapting to these new technologies, their suppliers are being affected and must also adapt. We believe that these small businesses are incorporating new technology in order to adjust to a technology-driven marketplace, and they're doing so at an ever-increasing pace."

The Kelsey Group is a provider of research and analysis focused on local advertising, voice and wireless technology and electronic commerce. ConStat is a provider of custom market research and strategic planning for the high-tech and telecommunications industries.