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Small biz playing catch-up online


June 16, 2014
By Canadian Garden Centre & Nursery

June 17, 2014, Ottawa – Canadian businesses sold more than $136 billion in goods and services over the Internet in 2013, according to new data released by Statistics Canada.

That figure is up from $122 billion a year earlier.

Large
enterprises accounted for much of the growth in the value of online
sales in 2013. These enterprises were responsible for about $87 billion,
or 64 per cent, of the value of total online sales.

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Statistics
Canada reports that certain sectors of the economy saw higher adoption
rates of e-commerce. In 2013, 22 per cent of enterprises in the
wholesale trade sector and 18 per cent of enterprises in the retail
trade sector sold goods and services online.

Overall, about 13
per cent of enterprises sold goods or services over the Internet in
2013, up from 11 per cent in 2012. Just under half of Canadian
enterprises (47 per cent) purchased goods or services online during this
period.

Security practices

Businesses used
multiple tools to protect their data and digital technologies from
unwanted access or attack last year. Just over three-quarters of
businesses used anti-virus or anti-spyware software, while 62 per cent
used a firewall and 53 per cent used a spam filter to block unwanted
e-mail.

Statistics Canada noted that the number of businesses
using these technologies may actually be higher than reported, due to
the fact that respondents may not be aware these features are embedded
in software packages they regularly use.

When it comes to
security, many small businesses are not taking important steps to
protect their data. Just under half of small businesses (49 per cent)
regularly back up data critical to their business operations, compared
to 89 per cent of large businesses.

During the year, six per cent
of businesses experienced an Internet security breach. The most
commonly cited effects of a breach were service downtime (51 per cent)
and loss of productivity (43 per cent).

Website functionality

In
2013, 46 per cent of businesses had a website – a figure virtually
unchanged since 2012. Many of the businesses still lagging in the online
realm are smaller operations; 91 per cent of larger enterprises had a
website in 2013.

In recognition of the fact that Canadians no
longer access the web exclusively via traditional computers, one in five
businesses with a website (19 per cent) offered a site optimized for
mobile users. These mobile-optimized sites may be formatted for viewing
on a handheld device, or may offer touchscreen interactivity for tablet
and smartphone users.

Statistics Canada also found that more
businesses offered a website with social media integration in 2013 than
in 2012 (38 per cent versus 33 per cent, respectively). Four in 10
businesses (41 per cent) used social media to direct traffic to their
website last year. Businesses also used print advertising (37 per cent)
and paid search (23 per cent) to drive web traffic in 2013.

Digital technology

The use of Internet-enabled mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets rose from 53 per cent in 2012 to 60 per cent in 2013.

Among
businesses with 10 or more employees, 31 per cent used
customer/supplier relationship management (CRM) software, and 21 per
cent used an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Businesses in
the manufacturing sector (35 per cent) had the highest rate of use of
ERPs, while businesses in the information and cultural industries (62
per cent) were most likely to have used a CRM.

Nearly every
business used some information and communications technology (ICT) in
its operations last year, however the most common barriers to further
integration of ICTs were the lack of in-house technical expertise and
skilled personnel (30 per cent) and the high cost of technology and
implementation (30 per cent).

Medium- and large-sized businesses
were more likely than small businesses to cite the cost of technology
and implementation as being too high. They were also more likely to
indicate that the lack of compatibility with existing systems was a
barrier to the further integration of ICTs. Statistics Canada notes that
this may reflect the relative size and complexity of the ICT systems of
larger businesses and the additional cost of making these changes.

Internet use and connection type

Last
year, 89 per cent of businesses reported that they had used the
Internet in their operations. Small businesses were the least likely to
use the Internet. The most commonly cited reason for remaining offline
was that there was no need for their business to use the Internet.

Mobile wireless technology was used by 38 per cent of businesses in 2013, compared with 35 per cent the previous year.

Interaction with governments online

Last
year, 46 per cent of businesses completed or returned tax forms online,
while 36 per cent made an online payment to a government organization,
and six per cent applied for grants or benefits online.

Medium- and large- businesses were more likely than their smaller counterparts to have performed each of these activities.

The
data was collected from a sample of approximately 17,000 private
Canadian businesses of all sizes. Statistics Canada asked respondents to
declare all sales of goods or services where the order was received and
the commitment to purchase was made via the Internet, even if payment
was made via other means. This included orders made on web pages,
through an extranet, or by electronic data interchange over the
Internet.


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