As technology advances further and consumers expect more from the retail experience, retailers in Australia may have to seriously consider developing a tailored online retailing strategy for their business.

According to new research from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), during 2011-12, 28 per cent of businesses in Australia received orders through the internet.

In total, the estimated value of income from these online orders was recorded as $237 billion – a figure that has increased significantly since the 2010-11 period.

Online sales were a particularly important source of revenue for smaller companies employing between 0-4 people. This category was the most likely to receive over 50 per cent of their total goods and services income from the area of online orders.

On the larger end of the spectrum, companies with a workforce of 200 or more people earned a higher value of income from online sales with a total of $129 billion, compared to the $16 billion of “internet income” reported by businesses with 0-4 staff members.

In addition to this, social media is also being put to good use by a substantial amount of Australian businesses, with one in five stating they had a “social media presence” as at June 30, 2012.

However, this figure varied depending on the size of the company involved, according to ABS Director of Innovation and Technology Statistics Andrew Puljic.

“Just over half, or 52 per cent of large businesses use social media, but when you get to micro business that drops to only 13 per cent,” Mr Puljic said in an August 22 statement.

“Businesses in the arts and recreation services industry were the biggest users of social media, with nearly half having a presence on social media, followed by the information media and telecommunications industry.”

Other big users of social media included those in the retail trade, and accommodation and food services.