There’s no denying that online business is growing at an exponential rate, not just in the United Kingdom but worldwide.
Not only do most UK businesses in 2017 have a website or online presence now (through social media or other online platforms), but many emerging startups are now online-only. Dealing with customers online exclusively, offering products and/or services, can have lower overhead costs than traditional businesses operating out of a brick-and-mortar property.
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According to the Office for National Statistics (in a statistical bulletin dated August 2017), online sales account for 16.4% of total retail sales in the UK, showing a growth of 15.6% year-on-year. The average weekly spend online of a UK consumer was £1.1 billion.
The United Kingdom is, in fact, the third largest e-commerce market in the world, after China and the United States respectively. We have the highest penetration rate of online shopping in Europe.
In June 2017, Statista released the latest statistics of online retail sales in the UK according to different types of businesses and goods:
Excluding travel, restaurants, tickets, and transport, the value of online retails sales in the UK from 2012 to 2017 is certainly growing:
(Figures are in billion GBP)
But “being online” isn’t only beneficial for retail businesses. All types of businesses could improve their business by reaching out to an online audience, and you could argue that it is the only way to stay relevant and succeed in today’s digital landscape.
Research from non-profit organisation Do It Digital partnered with YouGov have shown that 4 in 5 SMEs in Britain do indeed have an online presence. Approximately 60% are on social media and even more (80%) have a website. But it is that remaining 1 in 5 that large businesses such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft are coaxing into the online world by means of free webinars and courses. Obviously this isn’t out of the kindness of their heart but, in their eyes, new businesses means new money…
Out of those businesses without a website surveyed by Do It Digital and YouGov, more than half stated that they had no plans to start one in 2017 due to a lack of time and expertise. This coincides greatly with the efforts of large companies (who notably make a large portion of their revenue from advertising…) to get offline businesses the help they need with getting online.