Is the UK’s digital investment sufficient?

highwaySantander Corporate & Commercial estimate that SMEs in the UK are going to spend £53bn on enhancing their digital capabilities and services before the end of 2017

“Just having a functional website can have a dramatic impact on a firm’s visibility and connectivity with customers and other stakeholders.” Stephen Dury (Santander Corporate & Commercial)

While we might all be glued to our phones and tablets how much of our web traffic is actually going to SMEs? Websites are now essential for running business, Santander’s study found that 10% will be introducing a website for the first time.

“Just having a functional website can have a dramatic impact on a firm’s visibility and connectivity with customers and other stakeholders. However, while it is great to see that many firms are focused on this, the concern is that a significant number are still failing to invest effectively and are therefore missing out on these opportunities.” Dury

Despite the rise of mobile only 16% of SMEs surveyed plan to launch their own apps. This is actually an astute choice given the rise in responsive web design and development.

For businesses hoping to make the most of their money going where the customers already are is an appealing choice. Hence the prevalence of Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and Instagram streams. Working with the existing internet eco-system is a comparatively cheap way establishing a web presence.

13% of SMEs plan to develop online payment support, this will surely rise as more people start to use services like Android Pay and Apple Pay which will handle hundreds of billions of pounds in the coming years.

The average British SME has invested £33,212 on digital services in the past year with another £28,224 expected in the next two years. Regionally investment figures are a reflection of the balance of power in the UK economy. London has the highest level of investment followed by the Midlands.

Rural areas are suffering from a lack of infrastructure investment as a whole, despite being those with arguably the most to gain through remote shopping and business. The South West has the lowest level of investment with an average of £19,500 being spent per SME.

What these figures show is that in order to take advantage of digital business there needs to be the right infrastructure. The digital gap is clearly widening, investment from businesses relies on investment in infrastructure. Otherwise it just isn’t worth their while.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *