Online Sales Generate $1.7 Trillion Annually for U.S. Businesses

Seven out of 10 businesses in the United States say it is important for new employees to have some type of computer or Internet-related skills.

Businesses in the United States generate an estimated $1.7 trillion in online sales to consumers and other businesses annually, equivalent to 11 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2012, according to survey by technology organization Connected Nation.

The 2013 Business Technology Survey, which examines the technology adoption trends of U.S. businesses, also revealed that an estimated 1.8 million businesses remain unconnected to broadband.

"Broadband connectivity is a catalyst for growth in commerce and workplace productivity," Tom Ferree, Connected Nation president and chief operating officer, said in a statement. "Still, only 76 percent of the businesses in the U.S. use broadband despite its positive impact on productivity, sales and customer service."

Seven out of 10 businesses in the United States say it is important for new employees to have some type of computer or Internet-related skills. Yet an estimated 2.9 million U.S. businesses have difficulty finding employees who have the skills to meet their needs.

"Forty percent of businesses claim they can’t find qualified workers," Ferree continued. "What this survey reveals is that there is still work ahead of us to ensure our businesses are competitive and our workforce is equipped for 21st century jobs."

Survey results also indicated that mobile technology is vital to the workplace. More than one in five businesses in the United States (21 percent) now use tablet computers and an estimated 2.8 million U.S. businesses use mobile broadband.

Just under half (48 percent) of small businesses in the United States rely on broadband to advertise their wares or provide customer service to customers around the globe.

According to the report, more than 2.5 million businesses in the United States advertise job openings or accept applications online, and more than 4.9 million businesses in the United States interact with customers or provide customer service online.

The survey comes on the heels of an announcement by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s (DOC) new strategic vision and top priorities.

As part of the DOC’s "Open For Business" agenda, Secretary Pritzker outlined several priorities, including innovation, which she described as satisfying the need for a "strong digital economy, cutting-edge technologies, and well-trained workforce to stay competitive."

Connected Nation works to raise awareness of the value of broadband and related technologies by developing coalitions of influencers and enablers for improving technology access, adoption and use.

The organization works with consumers, community leaders, states, technology providers and foundations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to develop and implement technology expansion programs with core competencies centered on a mission to improve digital inclusion for people and places previously underserved or overlooked.