Marthese Portelli

Marthese Portelli, CEO at The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, has highlighted the need for local businesses to fully embrace digitalisation in order for them to succeed in the long run.

This came in her opening address for an event organised by The Malta Chamber in collaboration with misco, during which the findings of the ‘misco Social Media Usage Trends Survey 2023/24’ were presented. The survey pointed towards valuable insights into the strategies, challenges, and opportunities associated with the rapid evolution of digital communication platforms.

Dr Portelli emphasised that understanding consumer behaviour and market trends is fundamental to The Malta Chamber’s philosophy.

“The Malta Chamber’s mission is clear. We believe that digitalisation is key for business to succeed and will therefore continue fronting policy change and we will continue providing you with valuable insights,” she said as she addressed those in attendance.

Dr Portelli noted that amidst this digital revolution, it is imperative to remember that technology should serve humanity, not the other way around.

misco conducted the survey among a representative sample of participants drawn from its random probability based online panel. The fieldwork took place on February 2024. The report looked at the increasing ownership of smartphones (now at 91 per cent of respondents) as well as for what reasons respondents use the internet the most.

Interestingly, the predominant online activity is still sending or receiving emails, coming in at 91 per cent. This has been top of the most popular online activities in misco’s annual survey since 2017. Users also reported banking (84 per cent) and paying bills (83 per cent) to be notable reasons for using the internet.

77 per cent of respondents stated that during the past 12 months, they purchased products or services online. Online shopping has grown in popularity over recent years, yet it remains most prevalent among those aged 25 to 34, with 87 per cent of consumers in this age group continuing to shop online.

Additionally, respondents were also asked if they buy from local retailers or from foreign retailers when shopping online. 63 per cent of online shoppers stated that they purchase from local stores, further emphasising the need for local businesses to have an online presence.

While presenting the findings, misco Director of Marketing and Opinion Research Unit Rebecca Gera said that this year’s results reveal a “growing acceptance of online advertising on social platforms, despite user discomfort with targeted ads.”

“Moreover, while online shopping stabilises, there’s a notable increase in the intensity of actions, with diverse purchases on the rise,” she affirmed. She added that given that many online shoppers shop local, local enterprises need to “establish a digital presence.”

The event also featured a panel discussion made up of Ballotra Media CEO Nick Bugeja, University of Malta Head of the Marketing Department Franco Curmi, P. Cutajar & Co Ltd Head of Marketing Francesca Zammit Cutajar, and Corporate ID Group PR and Corporate Communications Director James Vella Clarke, who discussed a range of topics.

Closing the event, The Malta Chamber Head of Media and Communications Rachel Bondi Attard called on businesses to embrace the digital revolution.

“It’s time to kick our digital game into high gear, harnessing the power of smartphones, social media, and all things digital to take your businesses to new heights. Let’s also remain mindful of the importance of education in shaping digital literacy and the integrity of information in combating the spread of fake news,” she added.

The full report can be viewed by clicking the link here.

Featured Image:

The Malta Chamber CEO Marthese Portelli during her opening address

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