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Connected Small Businesses 2016

Digital tools open up significant new opportunities for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) within the Australian economy to grow and innovate. Technology enables better connectivity, engagement, and understanding of customers. Applying new technologies can help SMBs to improve business outcomes and become more agile in an increasingly digital economy.

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This report provides updated insights on the use and benefits of digital tools in Australia’s SMB sector – a sector that generates significant economic activity. SMBs contributed $608 billion to the economy in 2014-15, representing over half of private-sector economic activity. Australian SMBs also employed over 7.2 million workers in 2014-15, more than two-thirds of private-sector employment.

Based on a national survey of over 600 Australian SMBs, Deloitte Access Economics has taken a fresh look at levels of digital engagement, such as through SMB use of social media, e-commerce, websites, online marketing tools, and data analytics. The level of business engagement was then compared with performance metrics such as revenue growth, job creation, exports, and innovation in order to identify relationships between digital engagement and business performance.

The survey revealed that Australian SMBs are becoming more digitally capable over time, with the average level of digital engagement has increased relative to our 2013 Connected Small Businesses report. At the same time, the digital landscape is continually evolving. Ongoing developments in digital tools and their use by Australian SMBs means that the goalposts for SMBs to qualify as highly digitally engaged continue to shift.