E-commerce popularity continues unabated

In spite of the tribulations endured by many large technology-based businesses, fresh evidence shows that smaller companies are increasing their use of new media.

The latest e-commerce report from marketing researcher Continental Research shows that internet access and company websites are on the rise amongst UK businesses of all sizes.

The report shows the trend towards e-commerce continuing in the first quarter of this year and predicts that it is set to rise still further in the coming twelve months. The survey interviewed 500 firms, half of which were small businesses and almost a third were classified as medium-sized.

It revealed that 40% of all companies were involved in some kind of e-commerce activity, including taking customer enquiries and complaints and processing sales orders. This included over half the medium-sized companies and 36% of the small businesses.

There was also an increase in companies setting up or outsourcing production of their own websites. 38% of all companies now have their own sites, compared to 33% in the last quarter of 2001 and 25% a year ago. A further 14% expressed an intention to have one launched within the next year.

General business activities are increasingly becoming internet-based, with 60% of all companies carrying out at least some of their activities online. For instance, 54% use the internet to source information about goods, services or suppliers and 33% book travel tickets online.

Director of Continental Research Colin Shaddick commented, “It is extremely exciting to watch the phenomenon that is the internet, and to see how it is becoming more and more central to everyday behaviour both at home and in the office. Looking to the future the biggest growth areas are likely to be companies ordering raw goods and materials online, as well as banking.”

See also: 10 practical tips for setting up an e-commerce site.

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of SmallBusiness.co.uk from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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