Michigan Businesses Rake In $28B Annually from Online Sales


tMichigan businesses earn an estimated $28 billion annually from online sales, says a survey released Tuesday by Connect Michigan.

t“We expect (that total) to increase,” says Tom Stephenson, a community technology adviser at Connect Michigan. “We’re seeing a lot of small companies now working (with) the Internet, increasing their sales, increasing their presence, and hiring people. And that gives these smaller companies the chance to grow.”

tIn addition to assisting businesses by automating various functions, an Internet connection can boost revenue, Stephenson says. In fact, 48 percent of small businesses in Michigan rely on broadband to advertise their goods and services to customers around the globe.

tHowever, the 2013 Business Technology Survey found that 25 percent of Michigan businesses, some 52,000 entities, do not utilize broadband technology. While some of the companies may hire an outside source to maintain a website, most don’t see the importance of an Internet connection, Stephenson says.

t“(Of those without broadband), 44 percent say they don’t really see a need for it,” Stephenson says. “We have an educational issue. Many of our communities are launching business summits or workshops to close that gap, to make people aware of it. This survey shows the possibility of growth for these companies.”

tAmong the report’s other findings:

  • ttNearly two-thirds of businesses in Michigan say it is important for new employees to have computer or Internet-related skills. An estimated 84,000 Michigan businesses report it’s a challenge to find employees who have the skills to meet their needs.
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  • ttApproximately 74,000 businesses in Michigan advertise job openings or accept employment applications online.
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  • ttApproximately 144,000 businesses in Michigan interact with customers or provide customer services online. 
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  • ttOne in five businesses in Michigan use tablet computers and 72,000 businesses use mobile broadband.
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  • tt29 percent of Michigan businesses allow teleworking.

tThe report is based on a telephone survey of 800 businesses across the state.