Monday, November 08, 2004

Resource update - UK Office of National Statistics ecommerce update

Published last week, this charts the progress of internet access and ecommerce in UK enterprises in 2003. The fastest growth in access has come from companies of 50 persons or less, and 26% of all businesses now use broadband as the primary form of access. Almost 1/3 of businesses report having a company website. Fewer companies report lack of geographic availability as a reason for not adopting broadband, though 9% of companies state that they do not need broadband access. The largest growth in PC penetration by business segment came in the wholesale/retailing/travel/catering and telecoms segments (the latter is somewhat curious). Still, 30% of companies report not using PCs in the workplace at all, and if we exclude companies of fewer than 10 employees, the number is still 8%. The uptake of the internet in UK business is gaining ground, but we are still looking at a 30% PC/internet "refusenik" rate among businesses, with three quarters on dialup, and nearly 10% having needs rudimentary enough that they do not need broadband.

This is somewhat at odds with the needs of a knowledge-based economy. UK business lobby the CBI has today published a survey on offshoring by UK companies, and head Digby Jones said in the press today "I see a day shortly when there won't be any work for unskilled people [in the UK]." Apparently, the CBI sees that the flipside of offshoring is a migration of UK job creation to a higher value tier in the economy, where the key criteria will be innovation and ideas. Based on the internet statistics explored above, it looks all too clear that this kind of development is not going to be broadly based.

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