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Businesses grow their Internet earnings: ABS

Business earnings from the Internet increased $48.4 billion to $237.1 billion in 2011-12, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Data from the IT Use and Innovation in Australian Business 2011-12 report also revealed 45 per cent of Australian businesses have an online presence, a slight increase from 43 per cent in 2010-11.

The data compares to a recent report by Deloitte Access Economies, Connected Small Businesses, which found 59 per cent of respondents surveyed had a low to very low level of digital engagement, with only 16 per cent making it in the high level category.

A total of 55 per cent of businesses placed orders online last year, up from 51 per cent in 2010-11, with 65 per cent of businesses in financial services placing orders over the Internet, compared to 55 per cent of national businesses.

The report also found 47 per cent of businesses were engaged with "innovative activity" in 2011-12, up from 39 per cent, with innovation defined as introducing new goods or services or improving them.

"Larger Australian businesses have led the charge with innovation. Three quarters of these businesses introduced, developed and/or abandoned some type of innovation during 2011-12," Lesley Martin, ABS assistant director of the innovation and technology statistics branch, said in a statement.

"Also, large businesses were twice as likely to report the introduction of innovation than businesses with zero to four persons employed."

Nine in 10 businesses had Internet access at 30 June, 2012. A total of 70 per cent of accommodation and food services industry accessed the Internet, the lowest proportion of businesses to have access.

Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @stephmcdonald0

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