By Daniel Hunter

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are keeping an eye on the stiff competition and continue to rely on discounts to encourage new trade.

This is according to a recent study conducted by an online printing specialist, which discovered that the average discount offered by SMEs in the UK is now 21 per cent — a five per cent increase on 2011 figures.

The study, commissioned by Flyerzone - a site owned by - examined more than 5,000 orders by SMEs for promotional flyers over the last year. The discounts analysed show an increase — 16 to 21 per cent — compared to similar data in 2011.

Focusing on regions, businesses in the North East offered the highest discount (23 per cent) followed closely by those in the North West (22.8 per cent)

One company that has been offering discounts is The Hair Room in Chester. Toni Hazeldine from the company said: "Discounting is becoming a common occurrence, especially in the hair and beauty industry. Due to sites like Groupon, customers now expect a discount before walking through the door. However, it has become a great way to drive more business."

New leaf Projects' Eliot Bassett said: "We've recently launched our venture and it is tough to compete with the established businesses. We have seen an increase in discounts so new entrants have to match them in order to compete."

Flyerzone, which is well-known for offering deals on a regular basis for new and existing customers, is a firm proponent of discounts.

Gavin Cockerill, Managing Director at Flyerzone said of the rising trend: ''It has been a long and difficult four years for SMEs in the UK and although our economy is stronger, the need for enticing offers and discounts for customers is still there. Competition is fierce especially for smaller businesses so to remain relevant, you have to answer those needs.''

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