The use of social media by Irish enterprises was the second highest in the EU in 2015 and well ahead of our nearest neighbours in the UK, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office.
In 2015, 64pc of Irish enterprises employing 10 or more people used some type of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, compared with an EU-28 average of 39pc, the CSO revealed.
The use of social media by enterprises nationally has risen from 48pc of enterprises in 2013. In terms of enterprises using social media, Ireland ranked second in the EU-28.
Malta had the largest percentage of enterprises in the EU-28 using social media at 72pc, 54pc of enterprises in the UK used social media, while Poland had the lowest usage at 22pc.
The primary method of using social media as a way of connecting with customers is the use of social networks, with 62pc of Irish enterprises stating they used social networks such as Facebook.
This compares with 58pc and 46pc of Irish enterprises using social networks in 2014 and 2013 respectively.
Comparable data from Eurostat shows that the use of social networks by EU-28 enterprises increased from 28pc in 2013 to 33pc in 2014 and to 36pc in 2015.
Irish enterprises increased their usage of blogs or microblogs such as Twitter, with 30pc of enterprises using this method in 2015 compared with 27pc in 2014 and 20pc in 2013.
The use of multimedia content sharing websites such as YouTube increased from 14pc of enterprises in 2013 to 21pc of enterprises in 2015 with 19pc of enterprises using these websites in 2014.
Irish businesses embrace the cloud
In 2015, 35pc of Irish enterprises employing 10 or more people purchased cloud computing services, compared to 28pc in 2014.
This compared with an EU-28 average of 19pc in 2014.
Data for 2015 for the EU-28 is not available as the question on cloud computing was optional, however, 17 member states provided data to Eurostat.
Of these countries, Finland continues to have the largest percentage of enterprises in the EU purchasing cloud computing services at 53pc, while Bulgaria had the lowest take-up rate at 5pc.
The most popular cloud computing service purchased by Irish enterprises in 2015 was the storage of files at 25pc, while 23pc of Irish enterprises purchased e-mail services.
Less than half of enterprises have a formal security policy
While Irish businesses rocket ahead on social media, their approach to ICT security is somewhat lacking, with just 42pc of enterprises stating they had an ICT security policy in 2015.
This policy addressed such issues as: the destruction or corruption of data, the disclosure of confidential data, and the unavailability of ICT services due to attack from outside.
Of the enterprises who stated that there was a policy in place, 71pc stated that the policy had been defined or reviewed within the past 12 months. 19pc of enterprises stated that the policy had been updated or defined in the past 13 to 24 months, while for 10pc of enterprises it was more than 24 months since the policy had been defined or updated.
E-commerce usage among firms is growing, finally
While Irish enterprises had traditionally fallen behind international peers when it came to using e-commerce to boost sales, that is changing. But not fast enough. Across the three employment size classes, the proportion of enterprises that have made e-commerce purchases is higher than those enterprises who have made e-commerce sales.
In 2015, 53pc of large enterprises had e-commerce sales, which accounted for 50pc of total sales of such enterprises.
28pc of small enterprises had e-commerce sales, which accounted for 16pc of all sales in this size class.
51pc of medium-sized enterprises had e-commerce sales which accounted for 23pc of their total sales.
In 2015, 70pc of large enterprises made e-commerce purchases, which accounted for 42pc of all purchases made by large enterprises, while 58pc of medium-sized enterprises made e-commerce purchases, which accounted for 20pc of total purchases for this size class. 44pc of small enterprises made e-commerce purchases, which amounted to 12pc of their total.
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