The latest edition of the IEDR dot ie Digital Health Index shows an overall improvement in Ireland’s digital health, with the Index score rising to 45.4, the second highest since research began in 2014. The biannual research report, published by the company responsible for the IE domain, assesses the number and quality of digital assets owned by 500 Irish SMEs, like websites, social media pages and e-commerce tools.
The increase has been driven primarily by an improvement in SMEs’ perception of the quality and performance of their own digital assets; and by an increase in the number of SMEs with websites (67 percent compared to 62 percent in October 2016, the last wave of research).
However almost a quarter (22 percent) of Irish SMEs remain completely offline, despite half acknowledging that an online presence is important for generating business awareness.
The report follows last month’s consumer research published by IEDR, which found that the average worth of a website for an SME is €24,000 per annum. That report also found that 83% of consumers believe that SMEs should have at least a basic website with contact details and opening hours.
In addition to SMEs use of websites, the 54-page report also covers social media usage which, while remaining strong, has declined slightly since October 2016 across all platforms, with the exception of YouTube which is up from 4% to 5%.
The report zeroes in on the reasons SMEs give for not engaging online, which range from a lack of time, to confusion about the choices on offer. Interestingly, despite the recent high-profile ransomware scare, there is only a 1% increase in businesses citing cyber-crime as a reason.
In fact, the research implies that there is plenty of scope for development of Ireland’s ecommerce capability. For example, while 29% of SMEs say a lack of technical know-how is the biggest barrier to their online presence, only 13% have actually availed of digital or e-commerce training or funding, such as the 50% funding available through Local Enterprise Offices in the form of Trading Online Vouchers.
While the research suggests that some SMEs remain intimidated by the prospect of trading online, in fact it’s never been easier.
Blacknight Can Help
At Blacknight we’ve invested in a range of simple inexpensive new products designed to ease the first steps online for businesses. These include our easy-to-use BaseKit siteBuilder, and range of tools aimed at boosting productivity, driving sales, and ensuring peace of mind.
Most importantly, we don’t expect you to figure all this out by yourself. Our sales team is on hand to explain and advise – just call and tell us about your business. We’ll be your guide to select the services you need. You can get your own site up and running quickly and easily, for less than the price of a couple of coffees a week.
Encouragingly, 20 percent of SMEs say they are currently in the process of building a website, up sharply on the 8 percent recorded in the last wave of research. The number saying they have no plans to build one in the near future has dropped from 66 percent to 57 percent.
This infographic provides a summary of the dot-IE Digital Health Index for June 2017.