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UK ecommerce report

The bad, the ugly & the good: UK sellers weather the storm

Richard ClaytonRichard Clayton
November 24, 2022

The UK is one of the most mature ecommerce markets globally. However, digital businesses still face significant obstacles to growth. In the past couple of years, local merchants have faced macro challenges such as the fallout from Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic, and most recently, the impact on global supply chains from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Merchants are facing high levels of uncertainty with internal politics in turmoil, a looming recession on the horizon, and a cost-of-living crisis heavily impacting on consumers and businesses alike. It’s clear that not only do major challenges exist today, but there are emerging issues as we look ahead to the future.

To identify which issues are currently weighing most on their minds, we surveyed over 130 UK small to medium sized ecommerce businesses (SMBs) to uncover their top concerns and how they plan to achieve growth over the next 12 months.

Unsurprisingly, merchants are apprehensive about today’s economic instability and consider the uncertainties that abound in this area to pose the biggest threat to their business. As the reality of a recession sets in, 62% consider the high rate of inflation to be their number one concern for adding downward pressure on their revenues.

However, while this is certainly the most challenging economic landscape the UK has seen in 40 years, UK merchants remain optimistic and proactive in seeking out new opportunities to grow their business. Whether it be to expand to new markets or leverage new technologies such as the Metaverse, they are already seeking out new paths that will guide them through these challenging times.

Key Takeaways

The Bad & The Ugly

  • 64% of businesses expect economic uncertainty to be the biggest threat or challenge to their business over the next 12 months, 62% said inflationary pressures.
  • 53% of businesses see the rising cost of living/economic downturn as a barrier to investing more to expand sales among customers abroad.
  • 68% of businesses have seen sales to the EU decrease since Brexit

The Good

  • 62% of businesses are likely to grow their online presence in the next 12 months.
  • 46% consider direct to consumer sales to be the biggest opportunity for their business in the next 12 months. 38% say social commerce presents the biggest opportunity and 7% each believe the Metaverse and cryptocurrencies present the biggest opportunities.

For more trends and insights, download the report today.

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