Sales & Marketing

Small online retailers confident about 2016 prospects but others urge caution

Hannah Wilkinson | 6 January 2016 | 8 years ago

Small online retailers
Some 13 per cent of small online retailers think they can reach new markets in 2016
Half of the UK’s small online business owners are bullish about their prospects for 2016, according to new research by eBay.

More than ten per cent of digital SME managers are expecting to hire more staff over the next 12 months and some 13 per cent are confident about being able to reach new markets, the survey revealed.

the business community should be very encouraged by the findings of our Small Business Optimism Index, said Kit Glover, head of professional selling at eBay.

despite a tough retail environment, the fact that digital small businesses are looking to expand their product offerings, export to more foreign markets and thus employ more people here in the UK can only be a good thing, he added.

Dowsing & Reynolds, a small technology company which sells through eBay, achieved 40 per cent growth in 2015. Founder James Dowsing-Reynolds said: In order to facilitate our growth plans in the New Year, were moving into larger premises.

weve also identified new customer segments, namely architects and interior designers, as target areas for 2016 and were continually diversifying our product range.

Yet the first December sales figures to be released by big retailers have painted a more mixed picture of the landscape for British retailers with December 2015 a less successful trading month than many had hoped.

John Lewis recently announced a 4.1 per cent increase in total festive sales despite lower revenue from stores. But clothing retailer Next posted a surprise drop in sales over the festive period when technical problems interfered with the fulfilment of online orders.

Jonathan Russell, a partner at accountancy firm ReesRussell, also warned smaller firms not to underestimate the challenges 2016 would bring.

He said: The consumer is still hampered by past debts and low wage growth, which means there is less to spend. Whilst online businesses may be expressing confidence for increasing sales, it has to be asked at what cost?

online is becoming increasingly about price and as a result margins continue to be eroded.

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