Small business Internet use soars, IDC says

Small business Internet use soars, IDC says

Small businesses are increas-ingly turning towards the Internet in their day-to-day operations, as they seek cost-effective means to access technology, according to an IDC/Link research director.

The percentage of PC owners in the small business market having online service or Internet access has increased from last year's 30.8 per cent to 44.2 per cent for 1997 in the US, said Raymond Boggs, director, Small Business and Home Office Programs for IDC/Link. The share of PC owners with just Internet access also went up to 42.2 per cent for this year, from 27 per cent last year.

Small businesses are those companies having under 100 employees, excluding government, franchises and branch offices of larger firms. The small business share of total commercial PC shipments currently stands at 46 per cent and will rise to 48.1 per cent in 2001 in the US, Boggs said.

Of those small companies having Internet access this year, 13.8 per cent post ads or listing on sites and 24.8 per cent have home pages.

The challenge for small businesses is to access the tech-nology they desperately need with limited funds, Boggs said. The fast-changing pace of the industry and the complexity of the technology also act as barriers. "Their attitude is: why buy now when six months down the road, it's going to be cheaper," Boggs said. Small businesses seek an "intellectual Novocaine" to reduce the complexity of new technologies, Boggs added.

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