Jury still out on value of e-commerce

The latest figures from the US show that, while the number of small companies conducting business on the Web has grown, small business owners have mixed feelings about the value of e-commerce.

Seventy per cent of small businesses said they now have access to the Internet, up from 57 per cent last year, and more than a third have their own Web site, up from over a quarter last year. But while 31 per cent said the Internet was beneficial to their business, more than half said it had no impact at all.

Interestingly, small businesses owned by women were more likely to have Internet access than their male-owned counterparts (67 per cent versus 63 per cent).

The survey found that small-business Web sites are on the rise, with 38 per cent of survey respondents reporting a Web presence, up from 28 per cent just a year ago.

Source: Dun & Bradstreet Small-Business Survey, February and March 2000