The vast majority of respondents believe that e-business brings positive benefits, while education and trust are probably the greatest hurdles to adoption.
ShipServ, the leading marine and offshore e-marketplace, has released the findings of its 2011 Internet Use in Shipping Survey, the results of which were presented this week at the SmartShipping conference in Singapore. ShipServ carries out an annual survey into the use of the internet and e-commerce in the shipping industry with the aim of building an understanding of how trends in business-to-business e-commerce are impacting the maritime sector. The results of this year’s survey show a quickening of observable trends in internet use, with many respondents adopting new tools and working methods to adapt to challenging shipping market conditions.
The survey’s key findings were as follows:
• Many more marine buyers and suppliers are using internet to source and transact, with significant (15%) increase in usage between 2010 and 2011;
• Users consider peer reviews on suppliers and the selection of trusted websites as the two most important factors in influencing a purchasing decision from an internet provider;
• Respondents said faster transaction speed was greatest benefit of doing business over internet;
• The use of social media applications is here to stay. In the biggest shift since 2010, the survey found that 75% of respondents said they would increase their use of social media in a business context;
• Over 50% of respondents said they use the mobile internet or a mobile application every day
Mark Warner, Business Development Director, ShipServ, who presented the results at the SmartShipping event in Singapore, said: “This survey is unique in the shipping industry and it highlights not just the increasing usage of the internet but also the tangible benefits it brings to end-users. While we expected to see the uptake of e-commerce grow, there were some welcome new developments. For example, there has been a fundamental shift in attitudes over the last 12 months as shipping industry users adopt the tools and methods of social media – such as mobile apps, reviews and ratings – into their daily business practices online.”
In other key findings, the survey noted that internet search plays an increasing role in buying decisions. Around 50 per cent of purchasers begin the majority of their buying processes on the internet by using sourcing tools such as Google or ShipServ Pages. One of the biggest obstacles to adoption of e-commerce remains a lack of trust, but it is noticeable that the issue of lack of understanding has decreased substantially since 2010.
“We have seen a very noticeable shift in attitude in the understanding of the benefits associated with e-commerce.” added Mr Warner. “People are no longer asking why they should use it but asking how they can use it to gain the biggest advantage. This is a seismic change.” The full results of the survey can be downloaded at www.shipserv.com/internet-use-survey-2011.