Two-Thirds Of India's SBs Are 'Invisible' Online
At a time when e-commerce and online retailing are becoming the new normal, a new study found most of India’s small businesses are largely ‘invisible’ online or have a marginal digital footprint. According to a survey released by RedShift Research and GoDaddy, the world’s largest technology provider dedicated to small businesses. The survey reveals that as many as 63 percent of India’s small businesses don’t have their own website, with 40 percent stating that their company is just too small to warrant a website.
Other reasons for not having a website include lack of technical expertise (19 percent), affordability (17 percent) and that their social media presence meets with current needs. The survey, based on a poll of 500 very small businesses (defined as five workers or less), takes a look at how small businesses in India starting to utilize the Internet and their expectations from going online.
Estimated at 51 million, India is home to the world’s second largest base of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), accounting for more than 17 percent of the country’s GDP. If leveraged well, an effective online presence has the potential to be a strategic asset and a harbinger for future growth for these businesses: from helping to expand their footprint from hyperlocal to pan-India, and even global or to growing customers incrementally. This is not an unrealistic expectation and of those respondents who already have a website, 63 percent say their business grew once they their website was up and running, with nearly a third witnessing growth in excess of ten percent.
“It is clear that there is an emerging digital economy in India and small businesses can have significant opportunities to grow if they take to the Internet. An online identity is critical for their long term business growth and expansion”, said Rajiv Sodhi, Vice President, GoDaddy, India and Australia. “Our aim is to educate small businesses on the benefits of establishing an online presence, while making it affordable and easy for them to build an impactful global online identity.”
While a majority of Indian small businesses are yet to create a website, the research found that size and age does not matter when it comes to a small business thinking of or planning to be website ready. Newer small businesses are just as likely to create a website in the next two years as their older counterparts (79 percent have been in business for three or less years compared to 72 percent of those in business four or more years). And one-person shops (70 percent) are marginally less likely to build a website in the next two years than firms of 2-5 people (79 percent).
“The takeaway from this research is that the final frontier of e-commerce – the small businesses – seem finally poised to take a leap that many have already taken,” added Sodhi. “When they do, this research shows it’s likely to change their businesses: grow their revenues, expand their customer base and alter how they interact with customers. When you consider how many very small businesses there are in India, those changes could have a profound impact on the economy and the way the businesses operate.”
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