Unlike Britain’s tech-savvy consumers, the country’s small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) have thus far failed to live up to the expectations of the Digital Agenda team of the European Commission (EC).
SMEs are way, way behind in the technology adoption race, with just 14.3% of them selling their products on the Internet although 71% of Britons engage in online shopping, according to the latest figures in the EC’s Digital Agenda Scoreboard.
Since 2010, the number of UK e-shoppers has climbed by four percentage points and 81% of the population accesses the Internet at least once per week, which makes for an increase of one percentage point over the period and significantly exceeds the 68% European Union average. The UK has done very well when it comes to the proportion of people shopping online and that of regular Internet users, surpassing the respective EU targets of 50% and 75%.
On the consumer front, one area where the country has been found lacking is the share of people engaging in cross-border online transactions, where the target has been set at 20%. This applies to Europe as a whole, with only 10% of people found to have made an online purchase from a website operated in another country.
In the UK business camp, the situation is not encouraging at present. The EU wants one third of SMEs in every member country to have e-commerce operations but British representatives of the sector are falling significantly short of that. For UK businesses as a whole, the proportion of those selling online stands at 14.9%.