Business Use of the Internet in Australia

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 20/02

Date: 2002

Author(s):

Joanne Loundes

Abstract

This paper provides summary statistics of Internet usage by Australian businesses using several data sources. Aggregate statistics are provided from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Business Use of Information Technology. More detailed information on firm characteristics and Internet usage are provided from the Melbourne Institute Business Survey, conducted by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research. Despite being a relatively new phenomenon, the academic research to date has already generated some general observations. The first of these is that Internet use is only beneficial to the organisation if it is incorporated into an overall strategy. Evidence from the Melbourne Institute Business Survey shows organisations that were strong in at least one competitive strategy (that is, operational excellence, customer intimacy or product leadership) were more likely to use particular features of the Internet than the rest of the sample. The academic research also indicates that there are significant differences in Internet adoption depending on the type of industry the organisation operates in. Again, the Melbourne Institute Business Survey shows that Internet usage does indeed vary across industries, with manufacturers more likely to use the Internet for the co-ordination of delivery arrangements, whereas the service industries are more likely to use the Internet for customer self-service and personnel benefits.