This publication presents results from an Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) survey of Business Use of Information Technology (BUIT) conducted in respect of 2003-04.
CHANGES IN THIS ISSUE
The content of the BUIT survey changes each year to reflect the changing nature of information technology (IT) use by Australian businesses. As such, some of the content of this publication has changed compared to the previous issue. For example, information on IT security is not presented in this issue due to data on this topic not being collected in the 2003-04 survey, but additional data on broadband has been collected and is included. A chapter of international comparisons has also been included in this issue.
NUMBER OF BUSINESSES
The BUIT survey is not designed to provide high quality estimates of numbers of businesses for any of the output classifications (for example, state and territory or industry) and the estimated number of businesses in this publication are only included to provide contextual information for the user.
Estimates of the number of businesses operating in Australia can be derived from a number of sources within the ABS. They may relate to a particular point in time or may be presented as an average annual figure. However, these estimates will not always show the same results. Variations will occur because of differing data sources, differing scope and coverage definitions between surveys, as well as variations due to sampling and non-sampling error.
REVIEW OF BUIT SURVEY VEHICLE
The ABS is currently considering an Integrated Business Characteristics (IBC) collection vehicle proposal. It is envisaged that the integration of existing ABS collection activity in the field of business characteristics (in particular Innovation and Business Use of Information Technology) will yield an increase in the usefulness of these statistics to users. An IBC collection vehicle is expected to provide more coherent and consistent business characteristic statistics covering a range of variables, for the whole economy. A potential disadvantage of the IBC proposal could be a loss of detailed BUIT output every second year, although it is envisaged that core business use of IT data would continue to be available annually. The ABS will be consulting widely with users prior to any change to the range and frequency of BUIT data collection.
If you wish to make comments and suggestions about the BUIT survey content or this publication, including the IBC proposal, please write to the Director, Innovation and Technology Statistics, Australian Bureau of Statistics, GPO Box K881, Perth, WA, 6842.
For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Bethany Smithson on Perth (08) 9360 5913.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
This chapter presents a summary of outputs from the 2003-04 Business Use of Information Technology (BUIT) survey and focuses on key indicators of computer use, Internet access, web presence and Internet commerce.
The content of the BUIT survey has changed over time with the focus moving from basic uptake of IT to measures of more sophisticated use of IT.
ADOPTION OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Between 2002-03 and 2003-04, there have been small increases in the proportion of businesses using a computer, accessing the Internet and having a web presence. While the proportion of businesses using a computer has remained around the same level for the last four years to 2003-04, the proportion of businesses with Internet use and web presence has continued to grow steadily.
Business use of selected technologies(a)
|Businesses with computer use|
|Businesses with Internet use|
|Businesses with web presence|
|(a) Proportions are of all businesses. |
|(b) Affected by TNTS - see Explanatory Note 10.|
Businesses with Internet use during the year ended June 2004 were asked to identify the main type of connection used to access the Internet as at the end of June 2004. In previous surveys businesses were asked to identify all types of Internet connections used. Due to these changes, direct comparisons cannot be made with methods of Internet connection data resulting from the 2002-03 and 2003-04 surveys.
As at the end of June 2004, a higher proportion of businesses using the Internet were mainly using non-broadband connection types (58%) compared to broadband connection types (41%). Broadband is defined by the ABS as an 'always on' Internet connection with an access speed equal to or greater than 256Kbps. Non-broadband connection types consist of dial-up (analog) and both dial-up and non dial-up ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) connections.
Broadband connections were the most prevalent as the main type of Internet connection for businesses which employed 100 or more persons (78%) and 20-99 persons (54%). In contrast, the most common type of Internet connection for businesses which employed 0-4 persons and 5-19 persons was dial-up (analog) at 54% and 49% respectively.
Main type of Internet access connection by employment size(a), as at 30 June 2004
Businesses using broadband as the main type of Internet connection were also asked to identify the main type of broadband connection used as at the end of June 2004. The most common broadband connection used was DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) with 67% of broadband users identifying this as the main type of broadband connection. The next most common main type of broadband connection was cable (28%) which includes Fibre Optic, Coaxial and Hybrid Fibre Coaxial cable.
The 2003-04 survey collected reasons why businesses with Internet access did not use a broadband connection as the main type of connection. Businesses could identify more than one reason. Lack of perceived benefit (32%) was the most common reason reported by businesses for not using broadband, followed by ongoing costs being too high (26%), start up connection costs being too high (24%), broadband being unavailable in the business location (23%) and hardware incompatible (4%). Broadband had not been considered by 18% of businesses with Internet access.
The 2003-04 survey measured the number of Australian businesses using the Internet or web to place and/or receive orders, with or without online payments, and the value of Internet or web orders received by businesses (Internet income). Caution should be used when interpreting values of Internet income, please refer to Explanatory Notes 12 to 16.
The proportion of businesses which reported placing orders via the Internet or web was 31% for 2003-04, an increase of 3 percentage points from the previous year. This growth is a continuation of the trend seen over recent cycles for this business practice.
Estimates for proportions of businesses which received orders via the Internet or web have demonstrated volatility over time. These data have been impacted by changes in question wording and processing procedures to better align with the evolving conceptual definition. The reporting of this item is also influenced by the availability of business management information and the relative rareness of this business event. See Explanatory Notes 12 to 16 for more information.
In this context, the slight decrease seen between 2002-03 and 2003-04 survey estimates for proportion of businesses which received orders via the Internet or web is negligible. Despite the proportion of business receiving Internet orders decreasing slightly, Internet income grew by 37% from $24 billion in 2002-03 to $33 billion in 2003-04.
ORDERS FOR GOODS AND SERVICES VIA THE INTERNET OR WEB(a)
|Placed orders via the Internet or web||%|
|Received orders via the Internet or web||%|
|(a) Proportions are of all businesses.|
|(b) Affected by TNTS - see Explanatory Note 10. |