The Importance of Digital to UK Businesses

Business Ideas.jpgDoes your business have a website?

UK small and medium businesses can unlock £18.8bn in revenues in the digital economy. Yet, UK businesses have been slow to act - only 13% of businesses with websites transact online. In the 2014 alone, the average online weekly spend was £718.7m, an increase of 12% compared with 2013. UK small businesses must fully capitalise on consumer demand as it continues exponentially. A digital skills report released by Lloyds Banking Group in partnership with digital skills charity Go ON UK has revealed about 1.2m small and medium sized businesses lack basic digital skills. About 23% of UK businesses function without a website. Their existing customers and suppliers cannot transact online. More importantly, such businesses don't have access to thousands of new customers.

UK Digital Skills Development

A quarter of all organisations believe digital technology is irrelevant to their core business, with three-quarters not investing time and money in developing digital skills such as setting up a website or switching to online banking. The UK digital charity Go ON UK runs programs to improve digital skills. The region of greatest digital development has been the north-west, up nine points against two points nationally. At the lower end of the digital adoption, is the north-east, which has in the last 12 months increased its digital maturity by eight points. The digital economy accounts for over 8% of UK GDP, yet organisations have failed to take advantage, by improving their digital skills.

Digital Adoption UK businesses and Charities

UK charities have fared even worse than businesses - 53% of UK charities operate without digital skills, with a negative impact on funding. Charities with the least developed digital skills were uncertain if websites or social media could assist in raising funds. The number of charities with basic digital skills fell by 6,000 from 45% to 42%, which showed a continuing apathy towards acquiring and improving digital skills. Within a year, 100,000 small businesses out of 5.2m have acquired basic digital skills, increasing from 75% to 77%. Although many UK businesses have established a digital presence, many are still resistant to the advantages that a website can offer.

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