More local businesses exploring digital economy

16 October 2013

The use of digital technologies is on the rise according to the results of the fifth annual Albury-Wodonga local business survey.

In comparison to 2012, results indicate a 15% increase in the use of app software, an 11 % increase in cloud computing, an 8% increase in Facebook usage and a 7% increase in online advertising. Businesses also continue to embrace the use of company websites, email marketing, Twitter, YouTube, video conferencing, blogs and other technologies.

Businesses also indicated a number of barriers to expanding their online presence and digital activity, with the key issues being the time, effort and cost involved in implementing new systems, and a lack of information and training or technological expertise. 87% of respondents also provided feedback on digital awareness training that would benefit their business.

From a financial perspective, capital investment continues to trend up, with 52% of businesses planning to undertake capital investment over the next 12 months. Over the past three years, a new trend has emerged showing that the value of the Australian dollar is affecting businesses less positively and more negatively.

Business profitability was consistent with 2012 with 38% of businesses experiencing an increase, 27% experiencing a decrease and 38% reporting no change in profitability. Confidence continues to escalate in the local economy with a large proportion of businesses viewing their prospects in the next one to two years with optimism. This sentiment was also expressed in regards to the local economy, an outlook that is in line with national trends.

The survey was conducted prior to September’s Federal election and uncertainty surrounding the outcome and the carbon tax were key areas of concern for businesses.

As at June 2013, survey respondents employed a total of 7,634 people. The majority of businesses surveyed expect no change in their employment base over the coming year, with 17% expecting to increase employees, 3% expecting to decrease and 21% unsure of employment changes in the coming year. This result is comparable with 2012 findings.

A total of 501 businesses from a range of industries completed the 2013 survey. Surveys were distributed to all businesses registered on the Albury Wodonga Business Directory and members of the local Chambers of Commerce.

The local business survey is a joint initiative of the Albury Wodonga Corporation, AlburyCity and Wodonga Council. The 2013 survey findings have provided an important insight into the health of the local economy and changes in the local business environment.

The full survey results are available for download from alburywodonga.gov.au