As we’ve shared often, millions of small businesses have adopted digital tools for all facets of their business, from logistics to marketing to managing money. Despite that, there are still millions of small businesses who seem steadfast in their belief that digital tools are irrelevant to their business. Building on research it commissioned from Deloitte last year, Google recently added more analysis to better understand the barriers small businesses face in adopting digital tools, or that are “digitally advanced,” as Deloitte describes such businesses.  Digitally advanced refers to a business’ use of certain digital tools that help companies build stronger, more profitable relationships with customers.

  • A video replay of a Google live stream about the new research can be found at the bottom of this page.
  • The Deloitte research report can be found here.

Deloitte’s research findings highlights

Rural-based small businesses are less likely to be using advanced digital tools than their non-rural counterparts

While they face many similar challenges to non-rural small businesses, U.S. small businesses in rural areas were twice as likely to report having an inadequate Internet connection.

Digital tools adoption growing fastest among women-owned small businesses

Deloitte’s research found that women-led businesses are more likely to be using digital tools than all small businesses. However, there is room for growth.

55% | The percentage of women-owned small businesses that are using advanced digital tools.

The smallest businesses are less likely to be using advanced digital tools

12% | Percentage of small businesses with less than 10 employees that are digitally advanced.
39% | Percentage of small businesses with 100-250 employees that are digitally advanced.

Barriers that small businesses say are preventing them from fully using digital tools

Those who don’t use digital tools gave these reasons.

40% | Said digital isn’t relevant for their business
38% | Said digital is not effective
34% | Said they are concerned about privacy and security.
30% | Said they don’t have enough experience with digital tools
29% | Said they have no time to learn about digital tools
28% | Said that digital tools are too expensive.

“Many small business owners tell us they want to be doing more with digital, but they often don’t know where to start or have enough time to decide which tools to use,” says Google’s Soo Young Kim.  “To introduce busy small business owners to digital tools that can help them grow, we designed Google’s Get Your Business Online training program as a way to get started and better understand the value these tools can offer.”

Video provided by Google


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