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Wed 11 Dec 2013 10:43 AM

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SMEs don’t plan online presence, says survey

Google survey shows three quarters of UAE SMEs don’t plan to have a website

SMEs don’t plan online presence, says survey

A survey conducted by Google has found that only 18 percent of SMEs in the UAE have an online presence, and 75 percent don’t plan to have a website.

The survey questioned 1,500 privately-owned businesses in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, all with fewer than 250 employees, and all belonging to the tourism, professional services, manufacturing, wholesale or retail sectors.

Despite the low figures for online presence of its SMEs, the UAE still outdid Saudi Arabia and Egypt which were found to have only 15 percent and seven percent presence respectively. This is way behind France (60 percent), the US (40 percent) and Turkey (37 percent).

More than 90 percent of businesses surveyed in Saudi Arabia and the UAE were unsure how the internet could help their company, but of those who were online, 87 percent said they were there to advertise their company, while two-thirds believe advertising online is easy to use.

Social media is a more popular tool for SMEs in the UAE, with 15 percent having a social networking page, compared to five percent who have a website.

Tarek Abdalla, head of marketing at Google in MENA, said: “Small businesses in the region are missing a great economic opportunity by not embracing the web and reaching out to customers online.

“The internet and online advertising can provide small businesses with the same advantages that large companies have long had.”

Internet users in the region are expected to reach 141 million by the end of the year, representing more than 35 percent of the total population.

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