A recent survey conducted by e-commerce research provider The Kelsey Group/ConStat's Local Commerce Monitor reports that 64% of U.S. businesses with fewer than 100 employees are currently using the Internet while another 10% expect to be online in the next year. This is a 150% increase from a year ago.
The study also reports that 81% of all small businesses have a personal computer; 70% of those businesses are using the Internet to contact their suppliers; and 44% are making purchases on the Internet.
Neal Polachek, senior vice president/research and consulting for The Kelsey Group, explained that, ultimately, the Internet's main function will focus on facilitating businesses' operations and interactions, rather than advertising and promotion. He cited small-business owners' decisions to use e-stamps and pay their bills online as examples that technology is making an impact on these local businesses.
"The relationship between small businesses and their suppliers and consumers are undergoing major changes," said Bill Deaton, managing director of market research firm ConStat. "While the small-business owner is rapidly adapting to these new technologies, their suppliers are being affected and must also adapt."