Small businesses may be investing in fewer PCs, but their internet usage is on the increase.
Analyst NOP Research said that up to 58 per cent of British businesses now have internet access, in comparison with 48 per cent in July 2000 - a huge increase on the 11 per cent reported in 1999.
Over 20 per cent of those firms that currently do not have internet access say they will by next year.
Sixteen per cent say that one of the main reasons for going on the net is to keep up with competitors.
Internet access and email were also cited as very important reasons for small businesses to go online and stay there.
However, many of the smaller firms lack the instituted infrastructures which would enable them to sell online, so larger firms are more likely to purchase ebusiness applications as they see ecommerce as an important part of their future.
The result of similar research by analyst the Cutter Consortium agreed with NOP's results.
Cutter found that a third of the firms it polled agreed with the statement that "ebusiness initatives are critical for my company's long term success".
Only two per cent of applicants strongly disagreed with this statement, while 11 per cent disagreed or mildly disagreed.
Only 27 per cent of firms surveyed by Cutter said they had reduced their expenditure on ebusiness in the past year.
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