One in three (33 per cent) reported selling the same amount while one in ten (9 per cent) said sales had fallen compared to the previous year. More than one in four (27 per cent) said they were selling online for the first time. Almost 40 per cent of small businesses with a website now sell products or services online.
The online survey of 359 small and micro businesses was conducted during December 2005 and included business decision makers and or owner/partners of businesses with 1-5 employees.
"It has been a merry online Christmas for small business," said Larry Bloch, CEO and co-founder of NetRegistry. "There are more small businesses selling online and those already online are selling more."
The survey also showed that small business expenditure on online marketing had increased. One in three (37 per cent) said they spent more on online marketing in 2005 than in 2004. One in four (28 per cent) said they were spending about the same and one in eight (13 per cent) said they were spending less.
According to Bloch, small businesses are getting smarter about how they market themselves online. "The fact is you don't need a big budget to get noticed on the web. If you look at how customers find your website, it's more important to have a prominent position in search results than pay top dollar for online ads."
After word of mouth (46.9 per cent), search engines are seen as the main source of customers by one in four (23 per cent) of small businesses. Less than five per cent say paid search engine advertising (4 per cent) or online banner ads (2 per cent) were the main source of customers to their website.
"Search engine optimisation (SEO) is particularly important for small businesses, which tend not rank highly in search engine results," said Bloch. "To help small business improve their ranking on the main search engines NetRegistry has developed a series of tailored programs that provide a dedicated SEO service for a low fixed cost."