Around half (48%) of UK small businesses are using smartphones for email or to use the internet for business purposes, with a further 9% planning to adopt the technology this year, according to the Quarterly Survey of Small Business in Britain by The Open University Business School, Barclays and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).
In particular, the more entrepreneurial firms that want to grow even in the current economic climate are driving take-up, with some 65% of these firms using mobile technology.
The Open University Business School’s Professor Colin Gray said: “These quarterly surveys over recent years have seen a strong trend towards the increased use of new ICT and online applications by growth-minded entrepreneurial firms. Britain needs to kick-start and sustain our economy on a longer term basis and technology could provide the answer.”
This news comes amid a backdrop of slightly improved small business sales and employment figures. There has been an 8% rise in the number of transport and travel firms reporting an increase in sales over the past year while those in health and education increased by 2%. However, there were also some signs of inflationary pressures with more small firms having increased than having cut their selling prices over the past year.
Unsurprisingly, the economic climate and demand is the biggest problem currently cited by businesses (55% of business cited this in their top three), followed by cashflow and late payment issues (31%). Despite these difficulties, many businesses are still advertising for business – in fact, while some 40% of all small firms do not advertise at all, of those that do well over half (57%) advertise online, presumably lured by the relatively low costs.
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