Indian SMEs get net savvy

Bangalore,Feb 17 (PTI):Indian SMEs are reaping the benefitsof using the Internet medium to grow their businesses.

This was revealed by a study by Google India to understandusage patterns and importance of online medium among SMEs inthe country.

As per the study, over 57 per cent of SMEs said they nowuse their website as a sales channel and get direct businessleads from their website.

While accessing email is the number one purpose for usingInternet, a majority of SMEs (71 per cent) also use it tosearch for vendors and suppliers and about 40 per cent use theInternet to create online listings and advertise online.

In terms of mediums used to advertise, traditional medialike newspaper ads and outdoor ads still lead advertisingspends for SMEs,but Internet is emerging as one of the fastestgrowing medium for advertising with 58 per cent of SMEs withwebsites using the Internet to generate business leads.

Among SMEs who have a online presence,56 per cent feel theInternet is a cost effective medium compared to traditionaladvertising medium like print and television and 79 per centbelieve Internet advertising can provide greater reach.

A closer analysis of marketing spends of SMEs reveals thatSMEs with marketing spends between Rs 25 lakh - Rs 70 lakh perannum tend to spend higher on the online medium and rely lesson traditional media like print and television.

But majority of the spends (43 per cent) comes from SMEswho spend between Rs 12 to Rs 25 lakh on advertising on aannual basis, reflecting the low cost benefit of the Internet.

Sridhar Seshadri, Head of Online Sales Google India said,�While the absolute number of SMEs with an online presence isvery low compared to actual businesses in India, we�repleasantly surprised to see increasing understanding amongstIndian SMEs to use the web for business growth".

"In the last two years we have seen a significant increasein the number of businesses that have started to advertiseonline. But with over 35 million SMEs in the country, we havea long way to go. Google India is working on a number ofprogrammes to educate more SMEs on how they can get online anduse the Internet as a primary sales channel�, he said.

Among all SMEs surveyed, SMEs from Insurance, TechnologyB2B, IT Hardware and Travel

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