Online SMEs optimistic for 2016


The majority of small online businesses in the study, conducted in partnership in YouGov, were bullish about their prospects for the New Year, with only 22 percent pessimistic about the UK economy and their own trading forecasts. Over 200,000 small businesses sell online through eBay in the UK.

Despite the well-documented headwinds facing UK businesses, online business optimism is borne out in a number of key areas:

· Employment: One in ten small online businesses are expecting to employ more staff over the next 12 months, which could mean thousands of new jobs in the UK.

· Exports: One in ten small online businesses believe that they will expand the number of global markets they reach over the next 12 months, adding to a large number already exporting through the eBay-run Global Shipping Programme.

· Expansion of product offering: 40 percent of online small businesses are confident enough to expand their product offering in 2016.

These encouraging statistics point to the continued growth of the UK’s e-commerce sector, which last year generated £573 billion in sales, up from £561 billion in 2013.

Small businesses account for 99.3 percent of all private sector businesses in the UK, and eBay supports over 200,000 across the UK.

Kit Glover, Director of Professional Selling, eBay UK said:

“The business community should be very encouraged by the findings of our Small Business Optimism Index. Despite a tough retail environment, the fact that digital small businesses are looking to expand their product offerings, export to more foreign markets and thus employ more people here in the UK can only be a good thing.”

Digital SME case studies

LaptopOutletDirect is a technology product sales business based in Woodford. It was primarily a bricks and mortar business until the eBay acquisition team approached them in 2010 to bring the business online. Now, 98percent of the business is run online. In partnership with eBay during Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year, LaptopOutletDirect signed off November as its most successful month, including sales of 7,500 Windows Linx Tablets.

Manu Hussain, Managing Director of LaptopOutletDirect, said:

“Selling on eBay has been a game changer for the business. It’s given us a bigger roadmap; both in terms of its customer base and by virtue of the deals we’ve been able to negotiate with suppliers as a result of this reach.”

“Christmas is hugely important to our overall success. We start preparing from July, sometimes earlier, because there’s so much work behind the scenes. We’re delighted that November was the most success month in our history. Black Friday deals brought us visibility to new customers, across our product ranges.”

“We aim to achieve 22 percent growth year-on-year. In 2016, we’re developing on our current portfolio and investing in a greater range of mobile and smartphone products, as well as gaming consoles. As many of our customers are returnees, we’re developing our social media strategy to keep them engaged. Things like running competitions have worked well, and we’re moving into product reviews and blogging to develop stronger ties with our customer base.”