The Hunter Research Foundation (HRF) say that Hunter businesses are increasingly riding the wave of online commerce that is sweeping Australia and the world.
The latest annual survey from HRF investigating Hunter businesses’ use of information and communication technology has shown a significant improvement in businesses engagement in the digital economy.
Conducted since 2000 with both Hunter businesses as part of the HRF’s HUNTERPulse, the June 2015 survey results showed a significant jump in the number of internet-connected regional businesses with a dedicated website ‚Äì up to 71 per cent, which brings the Hunter into line with the national figures.
Up until this year, Hunter businesses lagged their national counterparts in doing business online. In 2014, just 57 per cent of Hunter businesses able to access the Internet had a dedicated website, lower than the national figure for small businesses (64%).
Author of the 2015 Hunter Region Businesses and Digital Technology report, HRF Senior Researcher Anthea Bill, says that half of the Hunter businesses surveyed this year are using social media to market their businesses, with this rate exceeding the national average for small to medium enterprises (SMEs).
“While the results are better in 2015, we hope to see the figures continue to trend upward,” Anthea said. “National research indicates that digitally-engaged SMEs are more likely to be growing revenue, hiring staff and to have further plans to increase spending in ICT over the coming year.”