Nearly half of UK e-tail businesses ‘expecting sales to get worse before they get better’

by administrator

As the UK’s tricky economic circumstances continue to exert pressure on businesses big and small in the run-up to Christmas, new survey results have been released showing how firms are dealing with those challenges, and what they consider their prospects to be for the year to come.

The cost-of-living crisis, inflation, and Brexit are key UK business headaches

To say that the last few years have been bruising for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) across the UK would be quite an understatement. Factors including Brexit, COVID-19, and the cost-of-living crisis have presented businesses with tests that, in some cases, they might have never encountered previously.

Those factors make it all the more insightful to peruse the results of a study recently undertaken by an American financial services company, which found that UK eCommerce businesses were facing a range of issues and having to get imaginative in how they dealt with them.

Nearly half of the SMBs questioned, for example – 41% – said they only expected business to become more difficult over the coming 12 months. 64% of respondents said that for the year ahead, they anticipated economic uncertainty would be the greatest threat or challenge to their business – only just ahead of the 62% who cited inflationary pressures.

Some 68% of participants in the research – more than two-thirds – claimed to have experienced lower sales as a direct consequence of Brexit. And when it came to investing more in order to increase sales abroad, 53% of those questioned said they regarded the rising cost of living as a barrier to this.

Small firms are finding various ways to overcome their biggest challenges

So, what are these small-to-medium-sized e-tail businesses doing to tackle the above issues? The survey was instructive on that front, too, with a whopping 46% of those polled stating they were now looking at direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales as the biggest opportunity for their business over the year to come. 38%, meanwhile, said they were looking to social commerce.

The research also discovered that 58% of the polled eCommerce firms said they would look to provide consumers with new deals and offers, while 31% signalled an intention to freeze prices. 7% of businesses questioned even said they were looking to the metaverse.

Many businesses, it seems, continue to be optimistic

For all the gloom set out by the above findings, it appears that plenty of UK e-tail businesses still have a ‘can-do’ attitude and strong ambitions for 2023. Some 62% of them, for example, said they were likely to expand their online presence over the year ahead. And more than a third – 36% – signalled that they were looking to enter new markets during the next 12 months.

There’s no doubt about it – businesses up and down the UK are continuing to face colossal challenges, but they are also doggedly pursuing opportunities, and look set to keep on doing that in 2023.

For a conversation about how our own up-to-the-minute digital accountancy in Plymouth, Wellington or Newton Abbot here at TS Partners could help put your firm in a stronger position to achieve its own ambitions in the New Year, why not enquire to us now via phone or email?