Just one in six Irish businesses views e-commerce as vital for growth

1 Jul 2013

At a time when Irish businesses need every advantage, a survey reveals that Irish firms are hopelessly outmoded by global counterparts when it comes to the digital economy, with just one in six SMEs using e-commerce to grow internationally.

A report by the Irish International Business Network (IIBN), which assesses the attitudes of Irish business people across the UK and Ireland towards the corporate climate and international trade, reveals the average Irish adult now spends €1,392 per year online.

However, only a sixth (16.2pc) of Irish business people believe that investing in international e-commerce can help develop their businesses, according to the report.

But while Ireland is lagging behind its British-based counterparts, of whom 25.8pc believe international e-commerce can help develop their businesses, Irish businesses are more inclined to export. Sixty per cent of Irish-based businesses state they export their products/ services, compared to 40pc of those in the UK.

“While it’s encouraging to see so many Irish-based businesses exporting their products around the world, we still seem slow to embrace modern technology to help grow our businesses, compared to Irish business people abroad,” said Niall Fenton, chairman of the IIBN Dublin Chapter.

“More needs to be done to educate and support business owners in developing their companies online if they are to remain competitive,” Fenton added.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years