IE Domain Registry Annual Report 2019

IE Domain Registry  Annual Report & Review  2019 25 Business and Market Review Digital Advocacy The Company is committed to digital advocacy for the SME community. We continued our initiatives to engage with stakeholders and the internet community in Ireland throughout 2019. A range of research, publications, events and sponsorships was undertaken to highlight the benefits and possibilities of the internet for all. Digital Town 2019 We designed the concept of the Digital Town to promote awareness, knowledge, use and understanding of the internet in Ireland by its citizens, businesses and communities. It also highlights the benefits and possibilities of the internet and celebrates the digital achievements of a local town. Sligo was chosen as Digital Town for 2019, the second year of the initiative. During the months August, September and October, we worked closely with many groups in Sligo including the County Council, Local Enterprise Office, Chamber of Commerce, Business Improvement District (BID), South Sligo Smart Community and IT Sligo. Eight digital events were held, focused around businesses, citizens and community groups. These included digital storytelling and learning events where panellists gave very useful insights on how to bring a business online and sharing their experiences from their own digital journey. Another event featured demonstrations of digital tools to help improve business efficiency and productivity which attracted several hundred attendees. A number of expert website healthchecks for small businesses also took place. The healthchecks provided the companies with a report and recommendations for improvements which they later implemented to improve their website offering. At the Digital Town 2019 Closing Ceremony are Phil Prentice, Chief Officer, Scotland Towns Partnership; Oonagh McCutcheon, Corporate Communications Manager, IE Domain Registry; David Curtin, CEO, IE Domain Registry; Bobby Kerr, Broadcaster. SME Digital Health Index It is imperative that policy makers have access to accurate data upon which to base their decisions. We commissioned annual research for the SME Digital Health Index 2019 (DHI) which examines the digital behaviours of 1,000 Irish SMEs, including their usage of digital assets such as websites, social media, and e-commerce and their general attitudes towards digital technology, learning and investment. It also analyses consumers’ attitudes to digital technology, e-commerce and retail trends. While our research shows that Irish SMEs have more digital assets than ever before (87% have at least one digital asset), only a minority of SMEs are using them to their full potential. E-commerce is the exception rather than the rule, with less than a third (32%) of SMEs able to take sales orders or process transactions through their website. This is a trend that is pushing Irish consumers to shop with online competitors and international online retailers. Irish consumers expect their local SMEs to be online. Six in 10 consumers say making online purchases is ‘important’ to them and 54% will shop with a competitor if their preferred retailer is not online. SMEs that invest in digital skills and assets report positive results. 72% of SMEs say that one of the biggest benefits of being online and digitally savvy is an increased awareness or understanding of their business among customers. A third believe their online presence has led to increased revenue. If Irish SMEs can claim their share of the €1.9 billion spent annually on foreign websites, benefits will accrue to local economies in terms of increased sales and increased employment.