The annual Sensis e-Business Report 2012 shows significant growth in the ownership of smartphones, tablet devices and wireless internet access among small businesses and consumers.
Australian consumers were increasingly relying on their ability to access to the internet at all times, and rarely relying on accessing the internet from their desktops. Consumers are constantly looking for more information, and small businesses have the opportunity to use the internet and mobile devices to reach customers and grow their market.
The Sensis survey found that more than half of all Australians now own a smart phone. Smart phone ownership has jumped by a third in the past year, up from 44 to 59 per cent of the population. Smart phone ownership among small businesses is even higher, with almost two-thirds (63 per cent) now using such a device, up 17 percentage points on last year.
The popularity of tablet devices has also more than doubled during the year, with 30 per cent of Australians saying they currently have one, up from 12 per cent last year. Another 16 per cent say they plan to get one in the next 12 months.
The most popular use of the internet on mobile device is looking for maps and directions (69%) and looking up weather information (69%), followed by social networking (64%), and looking for information on products and services (62%). These factors indicate how important it is for small businesses to be active online.
Business owners are gradually getting more savvy about responding to an increasingly mobile online customer base. While only 9 per cent of SMEs have mobile-specific websites, a further 21 per cent say they are planning on getting one in the coming year. There has also been a 10 per cent jump in the number of businesses loading location maps onto their website.
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