Small Business Research Board eCommerce Study: Fewer than Half of California Small Businesses Have Websites According to latest SBRB Study

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Fewer than half of the small businesses in California have websites, according to the latest Small Business Research Board (SBRB) study released here today.

Nearly 30% of Small Businesses Expect Internet Sales to Increase Next 12 - 24 Months According to Latest SBRB Study

    The study co-sponsored by Business Today Magazine indicated that of the small businesses in California participating in the poll, 49% have websites. Furthermore, of those California small businesses with web pages, 52.6% of the respondents said they don't sell products and services on those sites.

The results closely mirrored the tabulations of respondents from the entire Western U.S. where 49.5% of the respondents said they had at least one website and of those with sites, 52.5% said they don't perform any eCommerce transactions on those sites.

Nationally, 57.3% of the small businesses participating in the study had at least one website. Furthermore, 56.1% of the small businesses with websites said they sell products and services on a company-owned site.

In addition, 96% of California's small businesses responding to the study said they expect their revenue from captive eCommerce initiatives to increase or stay the same over the course of the next 12 to 24 months. Of those, 21.2% are projecting revenue increases.

Small businesses in the Northeast were the most optimistic about prospects for revenue growth from their eCommerce initiatives when compared to three other regions with 41.4% looking for growth the next one to two years. The Midwest was second with 32.7% projecting revenue increases.

Businesses in California as well as the Western states overall, were most pessimistic about the future, with 4% of the respondents in each predicting declines in revenue. Nationally, 1.2% of the small business participants said they expect to see decreases in Internet generated revenue.

Owners and managers of more than 550 small businesses representing numerous industries responded to the nationwide SBRB / Business Today study.

The SBRB / Business Today report provides specific detail by size of business, by industry, by region (and in some instances by state) the various experiences each segment has had with the Internet and their commitment to offer products and services through eCommerce transactions.

The study, for instance, breaks out information by size of business and industry on the number of firms with websites, the number of websites they have, the percentage of their product line available on their sites and percentage of business revenue derived from eCommerce.

Overall, the study also found that:

-- 8.1% of the small businesses in California responding said they have more than one website.

-- Among only those businesses with websites, 36.1% of the California respondents are selling services on one site, 10.3% are selling on two to five sites and 1% have more than 10 company-owned sites on which they are selling products and services.

-- Of those companies with Internet sites, 38.3% of the California small businesses said they have more than 10% of their products and services available for purchase on their sites.

-- Again, relating to companies with Internet sites, 36.1% of those in California said Internet sales were responsible for contributing more than 10% of their total revenue in 2006.

The SBRB / Business Today Small Business eCommerce Study is believed to be among the most comprehensive efforts recently undertaken to understand eCommerce and the reality of its impact on small businesses. The resulting information thus provides both a snapshot on current attitudes and realizations among small business owners as well as establishes benchmarks.

Among the questions asked were:

-- How many websites does your company own?

-- On how many of these websites do you sell products / conduct transactions?

-- What percentage of your product line can be purchased on your Internet site?

-- How much of your sales were transacted on your Internet site(s) last year?

-- Over the next 12 to 24 months do you expect your Internet sales to increase, decrease or remain the same?

Poll participants also were asked to provide information on the percentage of products and services that could be purchased on their websites five years ago as well as the correlating percentage of sales that were derived. This data contributed to helping establish trends and historical benchmarks.

The study provides data for the all participants and also delineates data pertaining to only those businesses which have Internet sites.

Data is included for such industries as manufacturing, construction and contracting, retail, food and beverage, distribution and wholesaling, transportation and automotive.

Business Today Magazine is dedicated to serving the information needs of owners and managers of small businesses. The primary goals of the quarterly publication based in Buffalo Grove, Il. are to inform and educate its readers by providing timely, useful information that will help readers both contend with the daily demands of running their businesses as well as provide insight on achieving long term growth.

The Small Business Research Board ascertains and reports the opinions of small business owners and managers on a wide variety of topics related to their own businesses as well as national and international issues that may impact their operations. The SBRB conducts these studies for the benefit of small business owners and managers. The SBRB also provides opportunities for third parties to gain real time insight into the attitudes of small businesses nationwide through the independently conducted research.

The latest information about the Small Business Research Board can be found at http://www.biznus.net.

NOTE TO EDITORS: This article is the fifth of a series on the study of small business, the Internet and eCommerce by the Small Business Research Board. The first two in the series, "Nearly 30% of Small Businesses Expect Internet Sales to Increase Next 12 - 24 Months According to Latest SBRB Study" and "Largest of Small Businesses , Smallest of Small Businesses Most Optimistic About Revenue Growth Generated from eCommerce; Owners, Managers Project 12 - 24 Month Sales Increases" were released on August 31, 2007. "Small Businesses in Northeast, Midwest Most Optimistic About Revenue Growth Generated from eCommerce Sales Next 12 - 24 Months" was the third, released on September 4 and "Small Businesses in New York More Involved, Slightly More Bullish on Internet Than Other Northeast States According to SBRB Study" was fourth, also released on September 4.

The first release describes the overall findings of the nationwide poll of small businesses in which nearly 97% of the respondents expect revenue generated from web-based sales to stay the same or increase during the next one to two years -- with 29.2% of those expecting revenue to increase. The second breaks out the results categorically by size of business and reports that 48.1% of the small businesses generating revenues of $25 million or greater expect revenues emanating from websites they control to grow during the next one to two years. The third provides regional breakouts and the fourth compares New York to all states in the Northeastern U.S.

In addition to this release on the Western states and California, there will be additional releases by industry, among them manufacturing, construction and contracting, retailing, food and beverage, distribution and wholesaling, automotive and transportation will also be issued as part of the series.

For more information about this poll, copies of the complete study and the results of previous studies or other matters related to the Small Business Research Board, please contact Raymond D. Minkus, (847) 441-4192.

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