Only 12% small business shifted online despite Covid push

Wednesday 19th January 2022 05:49 EST

For many small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) going online was vital for their survival over the past two years and also opened up new markets and presented opportunities for growth. As businesses were forced to close due to lockdowns and social distancing restrictions and many people turned to online shopping in order to avoid busy high streets and enclosed spaces, there was a bigger than ever push the move to online forward at a rapid pace.

However, according to new research from Lloyds Bank Business, just 12% small businesses shifted to digital due to the pandemic, 49% of SMEs still have not made the move to digital and may be missing out on reaching a greater customer base. While the greatest obstacle holding businesses back from going digital are lack of skills and confidence, according to the survey of 1,518 UK businesses. Almost two-thirds (65%) of businesses said that not having enough digital skills was their biggest challenge. Some business owners also said they did not see the benefit of being online and highlighted the fact that benefits can vary depending on the nature of
the business.

Many small business owners resisted moving online because they didn’t expect the pandemic lasting for so long. Having a digital offering can reap big rewards - 82% of those who have an online presence said it has helped their business grow. Over half (55%) said going digital increased the geographic reach of their business and 47% found it helped the business to appeal to a new customer demographic. About a third (32%) has used their online platform to diversify the services they offer.

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