The report from Capital Economics was based on a YouGov survey of more than 1,000 British SMEs, including food and drink manufacturers. It examined their sentiments on economic growth, exports and the digital economy.
The 45% of SMEs that use e-commerce expected revenue to grow by 1.8%, compared with 1.3% for the 55% of businesses that don’t.
Commenting on the report, Capital Economics chief project economist Mark Pragnell said most SMEs were expecting to grow revenue in the coming 12 months. This was particularly true for businesses in the manufacturing sector.
Expecting to grow
SMEs that use e-commerce also expected 48% of their revenues to come via online sales in the coming 12 months, up from 46% in the past year.
Mobile apps had become more popular, with use of own-company mobile apps expected to double to about 20% of SMEs within the next year.
The report also found the 46% of SMEs that exported predicted revenue growth of 1.8%, while the 54% that didn’t export expected a 1.2% rise.
“Companies who export and use e-commerce say they are expecting faster revenue growth than those who don’t sell online or only sell domestically,” said Pragnell.
‘Business as usual’
A large number of SMEs said that the UK’s decision to leave the EU had not impacted their business, with 77% saying it was ‘business as usual’ since the Brexit vote.
Of the SMEs asked, 23% said they were putting off business decisions since the Brexit vote, including 12% putting off hiring.
Amazon UK country manager Doug Gurr said: “The results show the increased confidence of those small businesses who are using e-commerce to reach new customers in Britain and those who are exporting abroad.
“We believe technology has a big role to play in helping to foster small business across Britain.”
Captial Economic SME growth tracker – at a glance
- 1,073 SMEs surveyed
- 45% of SMEs that use e-commerce expected revenue to grow by 1.8%
- SMEs that use e-commerce expected 48% of their revenues to come via online sales in next 12 months
- 46% of SMEs that exported predicted revenue growth of 1.8%
- 77% said Brexit will not impact their business