IE Domain Registry has published its annual SME Digital Health Index (DHI) for 2019 today.

The report examines the digital behaviours of 1,000 Irish SMEs, including their usage of digital assets like websites, social media, and e-commerce and their general attitudes towards digital technology, learning and investment. It also analyses consumers’ attitudes to digital technology, e-commerce and retail trends.

A key component of the DHI is the ‘Digital Health Assessment’, which ranks SMEs’ capabilities to communicate with their customers online, facilitate transactions online, and enhance or ‘boost’ their online presence with productivity software, like data analytics tools.Graph comparing Digital Asset Ownership among Irish SMEs in 2019 versus 2014, covering websites, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Web sales ability, Data anaytics ability, and YouTube

Irish SMEs have more digital assets than ever before, 87% have at least one digital asset. However, only a minority of SMEs are using them to their full potential. E-commerce is the exception rather than the rule, less than a third (32%) of SMEs can actually take sales orders or process transactions through their website.

The report warns that this trend could pushing Irish consumers to shop with online competitors and international online retailers. 54% of Irish consumers will shop with a competitor if their preferred retailer is not online.

72% of Irish SMEs say that one of the biggest benefits of being online and digitally savvy is an increased awareness or understanding of their business among customers. A third believe their online presence has led to increased revenue.

As with last year, the Digital Health Index has broken down its findings into regional factsheets. Dublin and Leinster show the highest levels of digital engagement: 76% of Dublin SMEs have a website.

Connacht-Ulster Factsheet

The report has some key findings on consumer attitudes. 63% of Irish consumers think a business is outdated if it doesn’t have a website. It also identifies some of the barriers people encounter for doing more online. 28% say a lack of time is their main problem. Business outside Dublin, in particular, report that broadband availability can be a problem, and 66% of Irish SMEs say they don’t believe the Government can deliver the National Broadband Plan in its current form.

The report points out: “just under three-quarters of all Irish SMEs have websites. What truly matters, however, is how these websites are used”. Agribusiness website homeland.ie is referenced as an exemplary case study.

5 year comparison of Irish SME website functionality, 2019 versus 2014, covering product descriptions, mobile optimisation, video content, online bookings and reservations, sales orders and payment processing.

The full IEDR SME Digital Health Index 2019 is available to download here.

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Key findings of the IEDR SME Digital Health Index 2019