Mastercard study reveals fewer French microbusinesses now prioritising digital than during the pandemicApril 7, 2022 | By Donatienne Douriez
Paris - April 7 - The priorities of microbusinesses are moving away from digital transformation efforts. That is according to the latest edition of Mastercard’s study with the Institut français d'opinion publique (IFOP) – released today – that identifies the attitudes of French microbusiness owners towards digital.
While the pandemic accelerated the transition of microbusinesses to digital, the latest figures suggest that – now that restrictions are lifting and confidence in business continuity is increasing – priorities are changing:
- Digital investment stalls: the proportion of microbusiness owners that are unwilling to invest in digital in 2022 has risen to 28%, an increase of 13 percentage points (pp) from last year (15%). Between the owners that do want to allocate money to digital tools, 34% want to spend less than €1,000 (+6pp from last year) and only 6% want to spend over €5,000 (-7pp).
- Microbusinesses unconvinced by digital benefits: while overall digital awareness has remained stable (84%, -2pp from last year), almost two-thirds of microbusinesses (63%) still consider digital transition projects to be a constraint to their wider operations. The two primary reasons for a lack of priority towards digital were the company not requiring it (57%, +6pts) and them already having sufficient level of tools (44%, + 12pts).
- IT security remains insufficient: less than half of microbusinesses (49%) say they have put measures in place to protect against cyber-attacks, with only 4% saying they plan on doing so in the next 12 months. Furthermore, only 8% of respondents think they are highly likely to be the target of a cyber-attack, despite the fact that two-thirds of business owners (71%) have been the victim of a breach in the past.
The new data supports the urgent need for increased awareness among microbusinesses around cyber threats and the value of digital tools. In January, Mastercard partnered with Les Digiteurs, the digital platform of the Paris Ile-de-France Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to develop a cybersecurity awareness training programme for microbusinesses and SMEs.
“The key finding of this study is that – having turned to digital in a period of emergency and business instability, as incited by the pandemic – microbusinesses now consider digital to be a lower priority moving forward,” explains Solenne Marquet, Director – Product Development Consumers and Small Businesses at Mastercard. “It is therefore critical that we continue to increase awareness among microbusiness owners and provide them with the sufficient tools to thrive and stay safe in the digital economy. We must mobilise public and private stakeholders to support this process, as exemplified by our partnership with Les Digiteurs of Paris Ile-de-France’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry.”
The most widely used digital tools are the ones that enable companies to have a presence online. Almost two thirds of microbusinesses have a commercial website (65%, -2pts from last year) and 62% have a business page on social media (-1pt). So-called digital operational tools also remain widely used, with 65% of microbusinesses deploying management, accounting or HR software (-3pts) and 55% running sales management software (-3pts).
Overall, 92% of business owners questioned say they have or plan to have at least one digital tool in the future. This ambition is not matched by current activity, however, with only 15% of responding microbusinesses currently running a digital transition project (-7pp from last year).
The survey was carried out on a sample of 403 very small business owners with 1-9 employees. The representativeness of the sample was ensured by using the quota method on the criteria of the size of the company, business sector and region in which the company is based. The interviews were conducted by telephone between 7 January and 21 January 2022.