Publication Details

This case study was originally published as Michael, K, The Adoption of E-Commerce by Microbusinesses, in Lawrence, E, Lawrence, J, Newton, S, Dann, S, Corbitt, B & Thanasankit, T (eds), Internet Commerce: Digital Models for Business, John Wiley & Sons, Australia, 2003, pp. 99-102.


In Australia, about 89 per cent of businesses have less than five employees. This equates to 1035 000 microbusinesses. What is important to note is that 637300 of these are non-employing businesses (i.e. sole proprietors) according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). By studying these figures it becomes increasingly apparent what a challenging task the majority of business operators have in adopting and successfully integrating electronic commerce into their business. They only have their own resources and experiences to draw on and face a multitude of constraints such as time, money, lack of expertise and access to limited amounts of information. Many microbusiness owners are more concerned about making ends meet and how they will satisfy upcoming customer engagements than how they will venture online. Even though microbusiness computer penetration is very high, at about 79 per cent, electronic commerce adoption is substantially lower. According to the ABS, only 64 per cent of microbusinesses have Internet connectivity and some 14 per cent have a web presence