UK small businesses anticipating e-commerce boost in 2018

5th January 2018

A new report has found that British small business owners are planning to expand online in 2018, with 88% of SMEs surveyed preparing to trade online in the coming 12 months.

The study by Capital Economics, commissioned by Amazon, found that many small retailers throughout Britain are anticipating increased sales in 2018 as a result of their e-commerce ventures.

The number of small retailers looking to offer online sales via their own website is up from 50% in 2017 to 68% by the end of 2018. Meanwhile the number of small retailers looking to increase the use of their own mobile applications to offer consumers an additional sales channel is up from 13% last year to 24% in 2018.

Retailers that are adopting e-commerce are anticipating an acceleration of revenue and job creation in 2018. Online retailers predict a 1.9% increase in overall sales compared with a 0.6% increase among retailers that are yet to trade online. Small retailers with online retail platforms are expected to see a 0.8% increase in job creation, compared with 0.4% among those offline retailers.

Amazon’s own SME Growth Tracker for Q4 2017, which utilises YouGov data on the health and optimism of over 1,000 UK small firms, found that overall confidence in the national economy had “slightly deteriorated” in recent months but remained “largely stable”.

Mark Pragnell, Chief Project Economist, Capital Economics, said: “Our thermometer of SME confidence remains below zero, with few owners and managers still seeing a lot of headwinds in the economy.

“But while the figures show confidence remains low among SMEs as a whole, e-commerce users are less pessimistic about business conditions over the next 12 months.

“This is perhaps due to their expected increase in revenue over the festive period from online sales.

“Given these results, it is no wonder that more SMEs expect to start using digital tools to sell goods and services in 2018.”

Are you thinking of going into business in 2018? Every successful retail business idea needs a solid business plan with sound financial information and a clear strategy to make your aspirations a reality. Your local TaxAssist Accountant can review and advise on your business plan to provide the right information that gives you the best possible chance of success of receiving funding for your business.

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