By Daniel Hunter

A survey of 2,200 small businesses in the UK reveals there has been a 42% increase in the number of small businesses selling their products online.

Significantly, there has been a 36% rise in the number of small businesses selling their products overseas via their ecommerce sites. The figures were released from Freelancer.co.uk's annual small business report.

The survey found that an increasingly number of start ups in the last year began trading exclusively online, with a 32% increase on the year before.
The figures come a year after the launch of a Government scheme to encourage small businesses to export more of their products overseas. It also follows quickly on the heels of giant high street traders HMV and Comet going into administration caused by competition from online traders.

The survey found that more businesses said they had started trading in the last year because trading online was cheaper. 14% said they were encouraged to start a business because online stores are cheaper and as such they don’t need to rent a shop, while 19% said it was easier to sell products online.
Not all start ups and small businesses are trading exclusively online, with 39% saying they make more than 50% of their sales online.

The survey found the major costs for starts up and small businesses trading mostly online were for website and e-commerce design and localization services for exporting their products overseas. 42% said the their main investment was in an e-commerce site, while 36% said they invested in localization services to help them export overseas.

“Small businesses have been encouraged to start exporting and their investment and efforts are paying off,” said Matt Barrie of Freelancer.co.uk.

“Small businesses are investing heavily in e-commerce as they know that is the future. Watching previously untouchable high street giants HMV and Comet go into administration is also acting as a spur to small businesses to trade online, which will help them to cut overheads and open up their products to new markets around the world."

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