STAFF REPORTER

NEARLY 38 percent of over 16-year-olds on Majorca have been shopping for consumables on the internet this year, the Balearic government confirmed yesterday as part of an overall study on how on-line facilities could boost regional business.

A study by the Balearic Islands Technology Foundation (IBIT)commissioned by the regional ministry for Innovation and the Interior, revealed that 37.7 percent of 16 to 35-year-olds on Majorca are now connecting to the internet at least five times a week and are preferring to do their personal shopping on-line.

IBIT research showed that 14.2 percent of the population on Majorca aged 16 and over do their supermarket shopping on-line to take advantage of home deliveries. Other figures emerging from the same survey showed that 31.7 percent of internet users make hotel and flight reservations on-line prior to travel and that 30.8 percent of the same age group book their show and concert tickets on the internet.

Regarding the level of regional population which connects to the internet but doesn't make any kind of purchase on-line, the IBIT survey said that the main cause of refusal to purchase electronically is the fear of lack of security for bank account and credit card details. Insufficient information is another reason for not buying on-line or even an inability to grasp the steps of how to make a purchase. Ranked too is the fact that some would-be buyers are not happy about the fact that they cannot see and feel the article they are considering buying first hand.

The IBIT research showed that there were clear dividing lines in the population of the Balearic Islands in terms of the different generations' understanding of the internet and in educational levels. “Education is an extremely important factor because those with schooling have a wider understanding of the benefits and conveniences of the internet,” said Pilar Costa, the regional Minister for Innovation and the Interior. “It is at this point that the government needs to intervene to generalise the use of the internet across all the Balearic Islands. The major dividing lines in the different communities are related to access and use of the latest technology,“ she claimed.

MAXIMISING THE BENEFITS
Findings show that businesses continue to invest in new technologies and that there is increasing use of on-line invoicing, said Costa, but frequently staff don't know how to get the best use out of innovative material, she furthered, and therefore businesses don't profit from their investment in the way that they should.

Costa said that 23.8 percent of small to medium-sized businesses in the Balearic Islands are using electronic invoicing, and 61.7 percent are known to use conventional postal methods.

But the Minister insisted that proper use of Information and Communications Technology could boost economic growth in the region.
An electronic invoice is a document which meets the legal requirements of a conventional invoice, and which guarantees amongst other features, authenticity of origin and integrity of the amount being charged. Electronic invoices can be stored, managed and exchanged on a business computer system.

The IBIT Foundation is currently commited to an Electronic Invoicing project aimed at the the tourist industry through the TurisTec cluster, financed by Central Government's ministry for Industry, Tourism and Commerce, as it is one of the sectors which most use on-line invoicing in the Balearics (41.2 percent of the total of the small to medium-sized businesses). Tourist companies are keen to use on-line invoicing because of its international convenience.

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