The value of online trading by Australian businesses is estimated to have reached $237 billion in 2011-12 according to an annual survey run by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The ABS has mapped a steady increase in online revenue in past years.
The 2011-12 figure represents a 25 percent increase on the 2010-11, when $189 billion worth of internet sales was recorded.
More than 28 percent of companies responding to the ABS ‘business use of IT’ survey indicated that they received orders via the internet in some manner, the same proportion as the previous year, suggesting that volumes are increasing.
The most popular method of receiving online orders was email, with 66 percent of all businesses saying they traded via email at some point in the financial year.
Even amongst the top bracket of respondents — businesses employing over 200 staff — 46 percent reported some instances of email ordering.
Along a sliding scale of sophistication, 35.5 percent of businesses said they had used an email facility integrated to their website, 17.4 percent used an online form, and 11.5 percent had a fully operational shopping cart function in place.
Nearly half of all online revenue was generated by businesses with more than 200 staff.
On the other end of the digital divide, 55 percent of businesses did not have any web presence at all, and roughly 8 percent said they did not even have an internet connection for company use. Figures suggest that internet use is inversely proportional to the size of the company.
Of those companies that don’t accept orders online, 54 percent believed that the goods and services they are selling were inherently unsuitable for internet trade and 41 percent simply preferred face-to-face contact.