SMB Website = Growth

Monday, October 17, 2005
Posted by Brawlin Melgar

International Survey From 1&1 Internet Shows Direct Correlation Between SMBs Web Sites and Business Growth

PR Newswire - October 17, 2005 09:04

- Users in U.S., U.K. and Germany Uniformly Report Positive Effect on Sales, Communication, Marketing and More

PHILADELPHIA, Oct 17, 2005 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are increasingly harnessing the power of the Internet and believe their Web sites positively impact sales, communication, marketing and cost efficiency - among other things - according to the results of a comprehensive survey released today by 1&1 Internet, Inc., the world's largest Web Hosting and domain registration company.

The survey, which canvassed some 50,000 1&1 SMB customers in the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom (the company's main areas of operation), sought to learn firsthand from SMBs the impact that having a Web site has had on their business, particularly in the first 12 months after going online. The results were analyzed by Prof. Dr. Edgar Einemann of Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences in Bremerhaven, Germany, in a detailed report called "International Comparison of the Economic Effects Resulting from the Implementation of Professional Webhosting Products."

Among the most intriguing of Dr. Einemann's findings:

      -- Almost all respondents (94.7 percent) said their Web presence
         provides a positive contribution to their company's development
      -- Half said less than 20 percent of their sales are generated through
         their Web site; roughly a third said their site accounts for more
         than 20 percent of sales
      -- More than 80 percent who experienced sales changes in the past year
         attribute it to having a Web presence
      -- More than three quarters of the respondents said their Web site
         offers major benefits in  effective marketing, overall customer
         communication and reaching and attracting new customers
      -- Almost all respondents (85.9 percent) are convinced that they are
         implementing an overall cost-effective new communication tool
      -- More than two thirds said their web site cost less than $650 in the
         past year

"The survey's overall conclusion is that maintaining a Web presence has significant positive economic benefits for SMBs," said Dr. Einemann. "It is clearly an example of the extent to which the Internet has penetrated the global economy, and is particularly significant because it is based on a relatively large number of respondents and an international comparison.

"The surprising aspect of the findings," Einemann continued, "is the uniformity of the results. There is no significant difference in the responses between Germany, the UK and the US, and within these countries, hardly any differentiation between the individual industry sectors or regions."

1&1 conducted the survey by emailing its SMB customers and asking them to voluntarily complete an anonymous online feedback form consisting of nine questions. In the U.S., 1,217 respondents were delineated by business type (accounting/financial, advertising/marketing, architecture, art/photography/graphic design, automotive, computer/Internet/IT, consulting, contractor/home improvement, healthcare, non-profit, real estate, restaurant/bar/club, retail and travel services/tourism) and geographic region (Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest and Northwest).

Just as with the combined survey results from the three countries, the survey responses across business sectors and regions within the U.S. were very consistent.

Andreas Gauger, 1&1 Chairman of the Board, said the survey results were a clear sign of the Web's increasing accessibility and hoped more SMBs would be encouraged to get online. "The survey findings indicate that, more than ever, the vast pote