Over a Million Small Businesses Lack Basic Digital Skills

Despite 100,000 more small enterprises benefitting from having online skills, a staggering 25% of surveyed participants believe digital is “irrelevant”

Over a Million Small Businesses Lack Basic Digital Skills

According to the Lloyds Bank UK Business Digital Index, there are still around 1.2 million firms that lack basic digital abilities, with many unable to use social media, online banking and e-commerce.

Despite this worrying statistic, the report, compiled in conjunction with Accenture and digital skills charity Go ON UK, found that the number of small and medium-sized enterprises with basic skills, including being able to run a website, is rising.

Increasing from 75% in 2014 to 77% this year, the North West and North East witnessed a particularly significant improvement due to successful regional programmes to boost online skills.

However, despite this improvement many more small firms remain worryingly uninterested in getting their company online; with a quarter of business owners stating that digital skills were “irrelevant” to them and their company.

Hoping to change this perception and highlight the importance of digital, the annual index revealed that companies with higher digital skill levels within their firms are more than a third more likely to experience increased turnovers than businesses that were less digitally enabled.

Business minister Matthew Hancock commented on the report:

“Digital skills and online promotion are an essential part of starting and growing a modern business. This report shows that although there has been some improvement in small firms embracing the internet, more organisations should be taking advantage of all the benefits of being online.

“We want to make life as easy as possible for Britain’s small firms and I encourage all entrepreneurs to get behind the government’s Do More Online drive.”

Miguel-Ángel Rodríguez-Sola, the group director for digital at Lloyds, added:

“In just one year it is pleasing to see that over 100,000 more small businesses in the UK now have basic digital skills.

“But what is also clear is that real challenges remain – over a million small businesses and charities still lack basic digital skills and the perceived benefits of being digital remain. For example 25% of all organisations surveyed believe digital is ‘irrelevant’ to them. We cannot emphasis enough the benefits that digital adoption can offer – such as saving time, increasing revenue or funding or reaching wider audiences. Digital is the key to unlock these benefits.”

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