UK SMEs lacking confidence and digital resources 

Almost half of UK small businesses are worried about financial performance this year, research finds.

Only 53 per cent of UK small companies feel confident about the health of their business in the 2015/2016 financial year, according to a study of 500 UK small businesses by Redshift Research, on behalf of Shopkeep.

Some 71 per cent of UK SMEs believe it is important for small businesses to have affordable ways to become digital, for example through the use of iPads, where traditionally unconnected devices such as cash registers have been deployed.

Almost two thirds (63 per cent) want support from the government to help them invest in this modern technology.

In contrast, 96 per cent of US SMEs are confident in the performance of their business this year, according to comparable research conducted in the United States.

Furthermore, 98 per cent are confident in the success their business will experience one year from now. The digital divide amongst UK SMEs may help explain this confidence gap.

UK companies are focusing their current digital marketing efforts predominantly on Facebook, with 50 per cent of respondents using the platform for social marketing.

This is followed by website work (47 per cent) and direct email campaigns (28 per cent). Twitter is being used as a marketing platform by only 22 per cent of UK SMEs.

The results suggest that UK small businesses are starting to realise the potential of digital platforms, but need more confidence in adopting them.

Jason Richelson, founder and CEO of Shopkeep says, ‘With more than 5.2 million small businesses in the UK, it’s clear that a significant part of the economy lacks confidence in its financial performance.

‘It appears that a lot of this worry may be focused around a lack of digital infrastructure. SMBs want to become more digitally savvy, but incorrectly perceive that they can’t afford the technology they need.’

Richelson points to the growth in cloud-based solutions as a way small businesses can fulfil their digital aspirations at a fraction of the cost. 

Further reading on digital strategy

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of 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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