France Num barometer: VSEs and SMEs reassess their confidence in digital transformation

France Num's latest barometer on the digital transformation of VSEs and SMEs shows a decline in belief in the profitability of digital investment, and a strengthening of fears.

A competitive challenge for companies

Although digital transformation is often costly, it is a competitive challenge for many companies, but very small businesses are no longer convinced.

The France Num barometer looked at companies with fewer than 10 employees to analyze the progress they have made in digitizing their businesses, and to better understand their priorities for developing with digital technology. The results show that 76% of small and medium-sized businesses believe that digital transformation represents a real benefit for them, compared with 81% in 2022. The proportion of companies convinced by digital technology is thus comparable to 2021 (78%).

The survey of 9,500 companies reveals that only 39% of VSEs believe that digital technology can generate additional profits. For half of the companies surveyed, less than 5% of customers come from the Internet. The sectors most concerned are accommodation and catering (79%) and personal services (68%). Despite this low figure, companies are massively present online. According to the France Num barometer, 67% have a website presenting their business, 61% have at least one social network account, and 55% are listed on free online tools such as directories. Of those who don't have a website, more than half consider it irrelevant to their business/sector, and 20% say they don't have the means to finance the development of such a project.


Doubts about the usefulness of digital transformation

The study highlights the doubts expressed by very small businesses about the usefulness of digital transformation. Nearly half of them (48%) express fears about cybersecurity, up 12 points on 2020. Acts of cyber-maliciousness are less feared by the most mature and technological sectors (finance, insurance, new technologies).

AI and data solutions are still foreign to VSEs and SMEs, with only 5% using them. Companies seem to be more interested in data analysis solutions. Indeed, 11% use them, with the proportion reaching 16% for VSEs in the retail sector.

Another new feature of the 2023 barometer is players' awareness of digital sobriety. More than 50% of companies take into account the environmental impact of digital technology. 42% of them are already implementing actions to promote digital sobriety.