Jan 17, 2013

More and more SMEs trading online

A report has found increasing numbers of startups began to trade online in 2012.

The research, conducted by Freelancer.co.uk, discovered 32% more small businesses traded online last year compared to the previous year.

This comes in a week when high-street giants HMV and Blockbuster have gone into administration due at least in part to a rise in online shopping.

Many businesses said they were trading online as it is cheaper. 14% said they did so as online stores were less expensive to run and they didn’t need to own a shop space.

A further 19% said they felt it is easier to sell a product online.

Whilst not every SME surveyed said they were trading exclusively on the web, some 39% said they make over half their sales online.

The research also discovered the major costs for businesses that predominately traded online.

These were e-commerce and website design, along with localisation and design services for exporting products to foreign markets.

An increased focus on overseas trading could be a further factor behind the figures, which come a year after the government launched incentives that encourage businesses to export products.

Matt Barrie, chief executive of Freelancer.com, said: “Small businesses have been encouraged to start exporting and their investment and efforts are paying off. Small businesses are investing heavily in e-commerce as they know that is the future.

“Watching previously untouchable high street giants HMV and Comet go into administration is also acting as a spur to small businesses to trade online, which will help them to cut overheads and open up their products to new markets around the world.”


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