By Daniel Hunter
Online retailers are more optimistic than the high street about the business landscape over the next 12 months, according to a survey of UK small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by web hosting specialists 34SP.com.
According to the poll of more than 1,000 small and medium sized businesses, more than three quarters (78%) of online retailers said they are confident that sales activity will rise over the next year, compared to just over a quarter (27%) of high street businesses.
Both online-only and bricks and mortar businesses were asked what they thought of the current state of the UK economy. Four in ten bricks and mortar companies said they felt the current state of the economy was ‘bad’ compared to just under a third (32%) of e-commerce businesses. Only 19% of high street businesses and 17% of online-only businesses said they thought the current state of the economy was ‘good’.
Asked to predict how the economic landscape would look in 12 months time, both virtual retailers and high street businesses said the economy would be in a healthier state, but online-only businesses were more confident this would feed through to more business activity. Four in ten (41%) e-commerce businesses predicted that the economy would be much healthier in a year’s time, compared to 36% of bricks and mortar businesses.
“What is clear from these figures is that online retailers feel much better placed to take advantage of an improving economic climate," Daniel Foster, founder and technical director of 34SP.com, commented.
“Although both e-commerce and high street businesses expect to see a significant improvement in the state of the UK economy over the next 12 months, online retailers feel more confident that this will feed through to stronger business performance.
“This will inevitably be due in part to the extra costs that bricks and mortar businesses have to meet, but also because of the noticeable shift in the numbers of people choosing to shop online rather than visit the UK high streets.”
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