This week we published the first SME Growth Tracker of 2018, a quarterly report by Capital Economics, commissioned by Amazon UK and Enterprise Nation, which assesses the growth prospects and views on the broader UK economy from SMEs based on a YouGov survey of over 1,000 UK SMEs.
The Capital Economics SME Growth Tracker found that email and websites are increasingly commonplace for selling to customers, after which, company websites are the most popular channel for e-commerce, with over half of SMEs using company websites to sell online. This trend is expected to increase further in the next twelve months, with adoption rising from 52 per cent of SMEs today to over 65 per cent in a year’s time. The use of third party social media sites for marketing continues to grow as well, with 37 per cent of SMEs now using this digital tool, while 23 per cent of SMEs use third party retail sites for sales and 13 per cent use their own company mobile app to reach customers.
E-commerce adoption is similar across all UK regions, with surveyed SMEs in the North East and West Midlands reporting the highest levels of e-commerce uptake at 69 per cent. In contrast, Scotland and the Southeast represent areas with the lowest levels of adoption at 61 per cent. SMEs who use e-commerce forecast stronger growth in profit than all other UK SMEs, even when less optimistic about business conditions. Businesses that use e-commerce expect to see revenue increase of 1.6 per cent over the next twelve months, compared to 1.3 per cent of those businesses that do not.
“It’s clear that British SMEs are open for business, and those taking advantage of the opportunities presented by e-commerce can grow at a faster rate,” said Doug Gurr our UK Country Manager. “The commercial benefits to be found by the adoption of digital technology can be enjoyed by all businesses. In fact, last month we published findings showing that more digital adoption in rural areas could add over £26bn to the economy’s gross value added, so the more SMEs we can support and help adopt digital, the better for the UK economy.”
Over the last 20 years of being based in the UK, we’ve seen tens of thousands of UK businesses scale their business, grow their revenue and increase their exports by selling on Amazon. A recent example is Bootclaw, set up by Cary Marsh who lives in Wimbledon with her partner and three sons. This week she told the Evening Standard that she sold roughly 100,000 of her innovative product cleans thick mud from footwear used for sport, hiking and other outdoor activities, and now plans to go global through Amazon.