08 Mar

Online Buying Activity of Small Businesses

Recently over at Small Business Trends I asked the community to participate in a survey conducted by Working Solo.  The survey was completed by 647 small businesses, and one of the questions asked was:  what do you buy online?  Here are the results:

Chart of online buying by small businesses

I wasn’t surprised by over 90% buying books and other low-cost media online.  I wasn’t even surprised that nearly 86% bank online and pay bills.

But I was surprised that almost 2% don’t buy anything online.  These days that is a rarity.

The survey was of small businesses ranging from solo business owners with no employees, all the way up to businesses with 20 or more employees.  Revenue size was under $100,000 to over $1 Million annually,

The survey was about business insurance, and was sponsored by TechInsurance Group, LLC, America’s leading online provider of insurance to IT businesses and a wide range of solo professionals — www.techinsurance.com and www.businessinsurancenow.com.

Download the survey results here (Word .doc).

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  1. Amanda said on March 8th, 2009 at 2:42 am

    It is rare to find people who don’t buy online but they do exist. I’ve come across several people who have no trust in online transactions. They very much prefer to order over the phone instead of entering their personal info online. I’m not sure who’s smarter though. We who purchase online or these select cautious few?

  2. Rose Anderson said on March 10th, 2009 at 9:48 am

    @Amanda: Yes — we are rare! Count me in.

  3. TJ McCue said on March 11th, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Hi Anita and Amanda,
    I guess no one has told the 2% minority that phone transactions are less secure than online transactions. I wish I could remember the study that I read that in, so i could back it up. But i read it at a reputable source..

  4. Rose Anderson said on March 12th, 2009 at 2:49 am

    Hi TJ, I believe each has it’s own risks to take. I am very interested to read that source. Just in case you find it or remember it, please update us here. Thanks!

  5. Martin Lindeskog said on March 12th, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    It could be of security reasons or that you are not used to use the computer for business. Do you have “age data” of the people?

  6. Rose Anderson said on March 13th, 2009 at 12:12 am

    Hi Martin,

    Why? How do you think age data will bring significant impression on the result of the survey?

  7. Ivana Taylor said on March 13th, 2009 at 7:42 am

    I’m actually not surprised by the 2%. There will always be some amount of the population that doesn’t do what everyone else is doing.

  8. Anita Campbell said on March 16th, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Martin, Yes, there is age data:

    0.3% Less than 19
    2.1% 20-24
    14.7% 25-34
    27.2% 35-44
    33.5% 45-54
    13.3% 55-59
    6.8% 60-64
    1.9% 65-69
    0.3% Over 70

    However, keep in mind that those who took the survey took it online. So they are definitely going online — they just don’t buy stuff there.


  9. Martin Lindeskog said on March 17th, 2009 at 6:22 pm


    Depending on the age groups 65 – 69 and over 70, you get 2.2%. It could be the case that the older generation is not used to buy online. I don’t have any solid proof for it, but it is an estimated guess.

    Anita: Thanks for the data.

  10. Rose Anderson said on March 17th, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    Oh I see. Yes, you are right Martin. Thanks!

  11. Jennifer Rai said on November 19th, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Just today there was an article on Foxnews.com that was talking about how online shoppers have seen ODD purchases on their bills that they did not make from shopping online. Great article!

  12. Todd said on May 30th, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    I know a very successful heat and air contractor that does not have an email account. He isn’t interested in email much less buying products online.


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