With the world full of Millennials constantly connecting to the web via a plethora of devices, harnessing the power of digital is a must for budding businesses. And it seems SMEs are now cottoning on to the significant revenue that can be made from evolving digital capabilities.
According to new research from Santander Corporate & Commercial, SMEs in the UK have committed an average of £33,212 into digital investment over the past year and will invest a further £28,224 over the next two years. It revealed that 8% of the companies surveyed had spent a colossal £100,000 on digital, with 6% planning to increase investment into digital by over £100,000.
The biggest spenders in the past year were the financial services and IT sector, with IT companies having spent £46,429, just short of the financial services firms, which on average invested £49,500. And both sectors plan to increase these investments; while IT companies intend to spend in the region of £44,000, financial services companies are expecting to spend upwards of £42,000.
Location also determined the amount companies will typically invest on digital technologies over the next two years. Unsurprisingly, London was top of table, with companies in the capital set to invest £42,925. While businesses in the Midlands that have a comparatively low projected spend of £31,531, the South West is only planning to spend £19,500 on digital , less than half what London will be investing.
But where precisely will this investment be going?
Websites remain a key focus for just over half of the firms surveyed, with many stating that their websites contribute to company success. However, a shocking 16% of the firms surveyed admitted to not having a website at all, with only 34% saying their websites could accept online payments. Boosting websites’ capability is therefore a top priority for the majority of businesses this year, while 16% of companies plan to invest money into developing and launching digital apps.
“Investment in digital capabilities can significantly enhance business growth opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses,” said Stephen Dury, managing director of SME markets & business development at Santander Corporate & Commercial. “Just having a functional website can have a dramatic impact on a firm’s visibility and connectivity with customers and other stakeholders.”
“However, while it is great to see that many firms are focused on this, the concern is that a significant number are still failing to invest effectively and are therefore missing out on these opportunities.”
It’s safe to say those companies without a website need to get their act together sharpish.