eCommerce leading the way for UK SMEs
4th March 2013
A new report says that eCommerce offers the best chance for growth in the UK and the sector will play an increasingly important part in the country’s economy.
Figures contained in the UK SME Business Outlook Survey, conducted by Dragons' Den star James Caan's firm HB Prime Advantage, found that 45% of those surveyed believe that an increase in online sales is the biggest opportunity for SMEs in the current climate. And almost 35% believe that exports overseas will increase sales this year.
Other headline figures included:
- 77% of businesses hope to increase their customer base in the UK and 74% overseas
- 56% of business owners hope to increase staff numbers in 2013
- Operational efficiency and research and development are two areas most likely to be addressed by UK SMEs this year
Good news for workforce
The survey shows that 56% of business owners hope to increase staff numbers in 2013 with only 5% fearing that they may need to downsize their teams. Business leaders are also planning to invest time and money into their staff as 38% of businesses plan to up-skill their workforce.
The Government needs to do more
According to results, firms are crying out for additional support from the government. 60% of participants are looking for further tax incentives whilst 35% want the government to cut regulation to make it easier for firms to conduct business.
There is a distinct lack of trust in turning to government-backed organisations, as only 2% of business leaders look to the state for business advice, preferring instead to speak to a business peer.
Positive outlook for 2013
HB Prime Advantage CEO David Taylor said: "Having looked at 2012's performance and observing future predictions of growth in the UK SME market, it is clear that sales are on the rise in all sectors.
"The survey shows improvements in key areas such as sales, exports and workforce numbers creating a positive outlook for the British economy in 2013."
Speaking directly on the benefits of the increasing use of eCommerce as a growth platform for British firms, he said: "Business owners are aware of the difficulties of running businesses in the current economic climate and are making plans to explore new markets this year to ensure they stay ahead of competitors and grow sales.
"With the recent leap towards eCommerce and the slow disintegration of bricks and mortar retailing, it is not surprising that 45% of participants believe that an increase in online sales is the current biggest opportunity for SMEs."
The report on the survey results can be found at HB Prime Advantage's website.