These businesses have faced immense challenges with sky high inflation, reduced consumer spending and record late payments making things increasingly hard. Despite this, the smallest firms – those employing up to nine people – have continued to deliver for our economy and provide over a quarter of total UK jobs.
But their contribution could be even greater. Our Beating the “digital drag” report with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) reveals these smallest businesses could generate £77.3bn in extra revenue and create 885,000 new jobs if they digitalised at the rate of the top 20% of tech adopters.
Just 30% of small businesses (0-9 employees) have increased their use of digital technologies since 2019, compared to 69% for larger SMEs (10-249 employees). And they are using twice as few digital tools at 4.7, compared to 8 for larger SMEs. These businesses are often grouped into the wider ‘SME’ sector. But their needs are different.
We need to see more tailored support to help speed up digitalisation. The impact for our economy and our country’s smallest businesses could be huge.
Cebr is an independent London-based economic consultancy specialising in economic impact assessment, macroeconomic forecasting and thought leadership. For more information on this report, or if you are interested in commissioning research with Cebr, please contact us using our enquiries page.