SMBs and digital: Getting it right can mean more customers, more revenue, more jobs, more innovation
10 October 2016: In the highly competitive small and medium business (SMB) sector, digital engagement can be the difference between success and treading water.
A new Deloitte Access Economics report for Google, Connected Small Businesses 2016, finds that Australian SMBs that have reached 'advanced' levels of digital engagement, compared to SMBs that have 'basic' digital engagement are:
- 1.5 times more likely to be growing revenue
- 8 times more likely to be creating jobs
- 7 times more likely to be exporting
- 14 times more likely to be innovating.
They are also earning 1.4 times more revenue per employee and have a more diversiﬁed customer base.
But based on the report’s ‘digital ladder’, nearly a quarter of SMBs are only operating at a basic level of digital engagement, and less than 10% at an advanced level.
There are significant benefits to be gained for SMBs with each step up the digital engagement ladder, and across all industries, sizes and geographies, with revenue growth almost 20% higher for each upward step.
Deloitte Access Economics partner John O’Mahony said: “SMBs are major contributors to the Australian economy. In 2014-15, they contributed $608 billion in GDP, representing over half of private sector economic activity and employed more than 7.2 million people.
“Engaging with, investing in, and then keeping up with digital in an increasingly digital economy, opens up significant new opportunities for SMBs in terms of agility, competitive advantage, innovation and growth.
“But the digital landscape is also continually evolving as new technologies change existing markets, drive increased competition and shift consumer expectations. The goalposts when it comes to being highly digitally engaged continue to shift.
“SMBs are becoming more digitally capable over time across areas such as social media, e-commerce, websites, online marketing tools and data analytics.
“Yet despite the benefits we have identified, almost half of all SMBs at lower levels of engagement don’t regard digital tools as relevant for their business.
“This suggests that there is still work to be done in helping some understand the value associated with increased digital engagement.
“Our research shows that there can be a clear digital dividend for those businesses that get this right, and that there is significant risk for those that don’t.”
The new analysis provides an update of the findings of an earlier Connected Small Businesses report for Google from 2013.