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Majority of SMEs plan to sell online by the end of 2018

Around 90% of small and medium-sized businesses plan to sell online by the end of 2018.

The 2017 SME Growth Tracker report revealed 64% of SMEs currently trade online but a huge majority of the sector plan to join them in the next 12 months.

The increase has been driven by an 18% surge in companies selling their services and products via their websites. A quarter have also utilised their own business app to boost sales. SMEs who currently use e-commerce claimed they anticipated revenue to triple and job growth to double in the year ahead due to their online activity.

The report – conducted by Capital Economics and commissioned by Amazon UK and startup advisory Enterprise Nation – aimed to assess the confidence and health of British SMEs and identify economic and financial trends.

Doug Gurr, UK country manager at Amazon, said: “The contrast in performance between businesses who use e-commerce and those that don’t is significant, so it’s reassuring for the UK economy to see small businesses investing in digital. [Digital tools] can improve productivity, boost revenue growth and provide real export power for SMEs.”

However earlier this year, the Hot Inbound Performance Report found some of the UK's top performing private firms had little or no online presence.

Uncertain economy prompts SMEs' move to e-commerce

The report further revealed a significant deterioration in confidence in the UK economy, with the lowest drop occurring in the second quarter following the general election.

Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, explained: “With the uncertainty of Brexit and the turbulence of the global economy, small business owners understand the need to adapt and innovate to stay ahead of the curve, and digital is an enabler of this.”