By Ben Simmons

A major survey of the UK’s 4.5million small to mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) has revealed a sharp rise in the number of small businesses using the internet to sell their products and services.

The figures show that over the past year, there’s been a 31% rise in the number of small businesses selling online exclusively, and 27% increase in the number of small businesses selling more than half their products and services online.

According to figures from PeoplePerHour.com’s annual Small Business Survey of 1300 small businesses, 26% sell online exclusively, with 47% making more than 50% of their sales online.

Results from the same question in last year’s survey reveal small businesses’ growing reliance on ecommerce over the course of just a year. In January 2011, just 18 percent of respondents claimed to sell online exclusively, with 37% claiming to make more than 50% of their sales online.

“The move to ecommerce won’t be news to the majority of observers of the UK small business sector,” says PeoplePerHour.com founder and CEO Xenios Thrasyvoulou.

“What will come as a surprise, however, is the pace with which the UK small business community is embracing the opportunities offered by the internet. We’re witnessing a paradigm shift in the way small businesses market their products and sell their products and services — and it’s happening at an incredible pace.”

According to Thrasyvoulou, it’s reach and cost-effectiveness of ecommerce that makes it so attractive for small businesses.

“On sites like PeoplePerHour.com, it’s completely free to create a profile and start selling your skills. It takes just a couple of minutes. The biggest incentive to sell online is the reach it affords you. Before widespread broadband internet, you were limited to a small, local market. Now nimble, forward-thinking SMEs can trade globally in minutes.”


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