Those who are quickest to get their business online were more likely to have increased revenue and staff, according to preliminary results of a Roy Morgan study commissioned by PayPal Australia.

The study found in the last year business growth increased by an average of five per cent for those who have sold online for at least 12 months. However, business declined four per cent for those that don’t sell online or haven’t sold online for at least a year. Additionally, 17 per cent of those same online businesses increased staff, compared with only 13 per cent who were not online for at least a year.

“These results confirm that the global transition to online retail has been a significant challenge for many local businesses,” Australian Retailers Association (ARA) Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said. “However, we know retailers here must keep pace with changing global market trends as future growth in the sector will unequivocally come from digital channels.” 

Despite the growth from businesses that have gone online, the majority of Australian retail SMBs have still not established an internet presence. According to the preliminary results, only one out of three businesses has been online since last July, even though Australian online retail has grown to a $31.7 billion market this year.

These findings support recent ABS data that 57 per cent of businesses currently have no online presence, and nearly three out of four (72 per cent) do not receive orders via the internet.

To better work with the offline business population, Driving Business Online (DBO) was founded as a national educational initiative by PayPal Australia with the support of its many partners.

“Local retailers are an important fixture in Australia’s communities, but they must engage and embrace technology and connect with the new national and global consumer audience,” Jeff Clementz, managing director of PayPal Australia, said.

“Driving Business Online proactively provides our local SMBs with the tools and guidance to link their business with the online world. We’re excited to work with thousands of new local businesses throughout Australia during our 2012 campaign.”