Lack of Digital Ability ‘Jeopardising Growth’ of Small Firms

Technology ‘blind spot’ could be holding businesses back, according to Lloyds Bank

Only half of small businesses and charities have a website, according to new research which reveals small businesses’ slow take-up of digital technology.

Lloyds Bank’s first UK Business Digital Index found that three-quarters of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and charities are not investing in improving digital skills and a third believe that being online is not relevant to them.

Over one in ten of the organisations surveyed did not have access to or use the internet. Even those with a website were failing to use it to its full potential, with only 18% allowing customers to purchase goods/services or donate from their site and 4% being able to take payments in different currencies online.

More than a third of all the organisations surveyed (35%) said they believe they are already doing all they can online.

Miguel-Ángel Rodríguez-Sola, Group Director for Digital, Marketing & Customer Development at Lloyds Banking Group said: “Most businesses do use digital technology in some shape or form. However there is a real blind spot for many firms who are doing the basics but can’t see the benefits of doing more.

“Businesses that are willing to invest for the long term could reap huge rewards from digital technology.”

Commenting on the report, Baroness Lane-Fox, Chair of GO ON UK said: “The UK is one of the world’s strongest internet economies – accounting for over 8% of GDP and forecast to rise to over 12% by 2016. We are world leaders in e-commerce, yet this report shows that the transformative power of digital is not being fully exploited by SMEs and charities in the UK and the main barrier is about perceived benefits of digital.

“We need to up-skill our small businesses now if they are to reap the benefits in the future.”

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