Thousands of small businesses and charities could be jeopardizing their future and UK economy growth by not investing enough in digital technology, Lloyds Bank believes. According to the research published in the bank’s first annual UK Digital Index report, only 50% of UK SMEs have a website and a third of businesses do not think being online is relevant to them.

As a founding partner of the Go ON UK charity, designed to help make the UK the most digitally-skilled nation, Lloyds Bank created this index. Aspects taken into consideration when putting the research together included use of social media, online sales, online security measures, digital advertising and level of basic online skills.

Miguel-Ángel Rodríguez-Sola, Group Director for Digital, Marketing & Customer Development at Lloyds Banking Group, said: “Most businesses do use digital technology in some shape or form. However there is a real blind spot for many firms who are doing the basics but can’t see the benefits of doing more.

“Businesses willing to invest for the long term could reap huge rewards from digital technology. Some of the benefits are quick wins, but businesses that really do focus on making digital technology a priority may even find that they can capitalise more easily on growth opportunities and that their confidence continues to rise.”

Reasons for lack of investment

Having poor online skills is cited as a major barrier, with the percentage of businesses lacking basic skills ranging from 25% in London to 38% in the North West. More than one in ten (11%) businesses do not use or do not have access to the internet at all, and only one in five (18%) can facilitate online payments.

Other reasons given for not developing digital skills include not having the time, an absence of relevant skills, security concerns, a lack of interest in doing so and the belief that it is not worth the investment.

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