8129.0 - Business Use of Information Technology, 1999-2000  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/12/2000   
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  • New ABS data says business use of information technology growing rapidly (Media Release)


December 15, 2000
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
New ABS data says business use of information technology growing rapidly

The adoption of information technology by Australian business has continued to increase, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
  • Computer use in June 2000 increased to 76% of businesses, up from 63% in June 1998 and 49% in June 1994.
  • In the same period, Internet access exploded to 56%, up from 29%.
  • Businesses with web pages grew to 16%, up from 6% in 1997-98.

The use and functionality of the technologies varies considerably depending on both the industry within which business operates and the size of the business.

Australian Internet sales for the year ended 30 June 2000 was estimated at $5.1billion, which represented only a small portion (0.4%) of the total sale of goods and services over the same period. It is the first time this figure has been officially calculated.

The ABS defined Internet sales as:
      "... the order or sale of goods or services.....which is transacted over the Internet....including via email, public Web sites or B2B Internet based trading systems....regardless of the method of payment or method of delivery."

Based on this definition, 6% of Australian businesses received sales income from orders for goods or services over the Internet during the year.

The single biggest reason for Australian businesses not adopting information technology is the perception that the technology is not suited to the nature of the business. Of the businesses that did not use a computer, 48% said this was the reason, followed by lack of skills or appropriate training (37%). Of those without Internet access, 54% reported that it was not suited to the nature of the business.

Australian Statistician, Dennis Trewin, said the ABS conducted this survey to provide greater understanding of the changing role information technology is playing in business activity in Australia and to provide a base for technology policy and planning.

Like the technologies themselves, the ABS' surveys of IT use are evolving. The 1993-94 survey concentrated on the use of computers by businesses while this latest survey, in respect of 1999-2000, has focused on business use of the Internet and the web, including the sale of goods and services.

Comparisons are made with the results from a similar survey in Canada. They show that the business use of this technology has been similar in both countries.

Further details are available in Business Use of Information Technology, Australia (cat. no. 8129.0) which is available from ABS Bookshops. The main features of the publication are available on this site.