A mere 22 per cent of Australian small businesses are leveraging technology to transform business and become digitally engaged, according to a recent report by startup Netstripes.
South Australia scored the highest national average of digital engagement (37 per cent), followed by Tasmania (29 per cent), Australian Capital Territory (29 per cent), Western Australia (24 per cent), New South Wales (22 per cent), Queensland (21 per cent), Victoria (16 per cent) and Northern Territory (11 per cent).
The digital engagement was measured according to the overall presence and engagement, and whether the website was both functional and competitive.
Other findings revealed that 45 per cent businesses were found to have mobile optimised websites, despite Australia ranking sixth in the world in smartphone ownership with a penetration rate of 64.6 per cent. This indicates that more than half of the businesses (55 per cent) are performing poorly when people search Google for their services and products.
Additionally, Australia ranked fifth in the world for social media penetration, yet the report found that only 18 per cent of small businesses are using the platforms for customer engagement.
The report also showed that only 28 per cent of businesses are using search engine optimisation effectively, meaning that over 70 per cent are not easily discoverable online when potential customers look for the services they offer on search engines.
Netstripes founder and chief executive, Dinesh De Silva, said small businesses that leverage the Internet can grow their business by over 20 per cent each year.
“More than 50 per cent of all searches are now done via smartphones and increasing, so if a business doesn’t have a website that is mobile friendly, they are losing half of their potential customers. The digital world opens up huge opportunities for small businesses, which holds the potential for generating billions of dollars in economic growth and reducing employment in the country,” he continued.