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Digital connectivity drives small business growth

The health of the digital market for small businesses is helping drive growth despite gaps in expectation, service quality and delivery, according to a report by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

An growing amount of small firms are using digital services as a way to reach new customers, improve their operations and better compete in an increasingly global marketplace.

The report, entitled ‘Reassured, optimised, transformed: driving digital demand among small businesses', is the result of general surveys and more in-depth interviews with FSB members.

The UK already buys and sells more online than any other G20 country.

The key findings of the report show that of the FSB members surveyed:

  • 99% think the internet is highly important to their business
  • 75% say broadband is vital and 70% think the same about mobile phones 
  • 94% communicate with customers and suppliers online 
  • 51% already offer goods and services online and 15% plan to do so soon 
  • 42% see digital skills are important to the future of their business.

The report also found that a significant minority of businesses are not planning to embrace digital:

  • 33% of members do not plan to offer online services 
  • 36% know whether superfast broadband is available in their area
  • 12% think they are already doing all they can online.

Mike Cherry, policy director at the FSB, said:

"Large numbers of small firms are using new digital technology to revolutionise the way they do business, but the market still has barriers stopping firms from seizing these opportunities. The success of the digital revolution has led to ever higher expectations from businesses and consumers which at times the market struggles to deliver.

"Consumer expectations and new technology are already overtaking past ambitions. We need to do even better, reaching a universal minimum of a [Sic] least 10Mbps while also building greater trust and reliability."

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