IDC Small Business Internet Opportunity Index Points to Tech Support/Services and Manufacturing Firms as Hottest Prospects

FRAMINGHAM, MA – AUGUST 15, 2001 – While small businesses continue to invest in Internet-related products and services, some are more active than others. A new report by IDC compares small businesses from 14 industries using IDC’s Small Business Internet Index of Opportunity. Technology support/services and manufacturing firms lead the way in using and investing in the Internet.


The technology support/services sector, with a score of 183, has a commanding lead, relative to the score of 100 for all small businesses. The scale is based on current levels of Internet activity as well as plans for the next 12 months. Not surprisingly, tech support firms are significantly more Internet active than those in any other industry. They have the highest level of home-page use and spend considerably more than other small firms on establishing and maintaining home pages. They also average the most spent on online purchases. Second place, manufacturing firms, are not always considered hot prospects for the latest Internet technology, but they clearly are ahead of almost all other small businesses. Small manufacturers, with an index rating of 142, have effectively incorporated the Internet into many facets of daily operations.

At the other extreme are small businesses in the agriculture/mining industry, with a score of 41. These firms are below average on nearly every Internet characteristic. While firms in the industry are technology sophisticated in many ways, they have made only modest use of the Internet (and their plans continue to be modest.)

"The index really shows where different industries are in their Internet evolution," said Merle Sandler, senior research analyst in IDC’s Small Business Internet program. "Some equipment and service suppliers might go after early adopters because they have already demonstrated their willingness to embrace new technology and will not require a hard sell. Others will appeal to the folks who have been slow to embrace the Internet. There are plenty of opportunities for all."

IDC's Small Business Opportunity Index – Top 5 Industries

(100 = Average for All Small Businesses)

Technology support/services 183

Manufacturing 142

Business/other services 128

Legal 124

Insurance 124

Source: IDC, 2001

The full ranking of industry segments, and the effect of the number of firms in a segment on the index rating, can be found in IDC’s report Small Businesses on the Internet: Vertical Market Profile, 2001 (IDC #W24991). The report also examines differences in areas such as Internet penetration and use, methods of Internet access, applications acquired online, promotion and ecommerce, the Internet as a source of revenue, and online buying. For more information, call 508-988-7988 or email

About IDC

IDC delivers dependable, high-impact insights and advice on the future of ebusiness, the Internet, and technology to help organizations make sound business decisions. IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends and analyzes business strategies, technologies, and vendors, using a combination of rigorous primary research and in-depth competitive analysis. IDC provides global research with local content through more than 700 analysts in 43 countries worldwide. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

IDC is a division of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.


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