A MERE one in seven of large Dublin companies use their websites for "significant" selling activity, according to research from the Dublin Chamber of Commerce.
The reason for such low online trading activity is that two-thirds of large Dublin firms say that there are insurmountable barriers in their way.
The findings will worry government strategists, who are trying to encourage Irish firms to embrace more ecommerce.
Because the survey was conducted among larger companies with more resources, it is likely to indicate that smaller firms may have an even lower level of online trading activity.
The detailed survey among 200 of Dublin's largest companies showed that a mere 8pc described online sales as a "critical" or "major" part of their website's activity. A further 7pc described online sales as a "significant" element of their website. While 33pc said that their website was regarded as a "minor component" of their sales process, more than half said that their website had no sales-related function at all.
A total of 64pc of large Dublin firms said that there were multiple reasons why they did not sell goods or services online. The largest single factors cited were a "lack of time and resources", the "complexities of establishing an ecommerce presence" and that "key customers are non-adopters".
However, one in 10 firms said that they were "unsure of the relevance" to their business, while "cost" and "lack of internal technical knowledge" were also cited as barriers to trading online.
The Government is currently offering grants of €2,500 to 2,000 small firms who demonstrate that they are attempting to add an online trading element to their website. The grant can be applied for through local enterprise boards.
Recent figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the biggest online exports for Irish companies last year were financial services (€2.17bn); computer services (€685m); and insurance (€159m).
A recent survey from Millward Brown Lansdowne showed that the average Irish household spends slightly more than 10pc of its €38,000 annual income online.
It showed that the biggest single category was groceries (20pc); followed by electricity and fuel (11pc); financial services (10pc); and clothes (7pc).