UK business turning to ecommerce as spending soars

Channel NewsRetail

Internet sales reach £483 billion in the UK, accounting for 19 percent of turnover

E-commerce is becoming an increasingly important way for businesses to make purchases, as companies become more reliant on high speed broadband.

A survey by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has shown the growing value to businesses of the procurement of goods via the internet, known as e-commerce.   The results showed that in 2011 e-commerce sales reached £483 billion in total, accounting for 19 percent of total turnover.

Sales for wholesalers such as distributors saw the highest level of e-commerce sales at £181 billion for 2011, while retail and other sectors also saw increases.

The survey has shown that all businesses regardless of size are increasingly looking to make purchases online, which could impact on the way that channel firms sell to SMBs for example.

However e-commerce spending is still dominated by the bigger businesses to a large extent.  Those employing over 1,000 staff – of which there are relatively few in the UK – account for 46 percent of all sales via the internet.

The survey also showed that 5.8 percent of businesses had broadband with a connection faster than 100Mbps, while 34 percent of larger businesses have access to these high speeds.

In addition the reports highlighted that over half of the 7,700 businesses surveyed are now providing one or more members of staff with a portable devices such as a tablet or smartphone.

Mobile broadband usage has also increased, with 3G connections purchased by business rising from 36 percent in 2009 to 57 percent in 2011.  Over half of businesses with under 50 employees now use 3G, while 97 percent of businesses with over 1,000 staff have 3G in place.

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