Social media use doubles in one year amongst UK and Ireland e-tailers, with three quarters now using Facebook and Twitter to drive sales, according to a new study.
The e-business benchmark report from Sage Pay, surveyed over 1,000 UK and Ireland based internet businesses.
It found the industry is in rude health with respondents reporting on average 49% growth in online sales over the past year.
Flying the flag internationally
The Sage Pay report also showed more than half (57%) of e-tailers are taking advantage of the weak pound and relative maturity of the UK and Irish e-commerce market by expanding into international territories.
While European countries, including France, Germany and Spain remain the most popular destinations for business expansion, Britain’s e-exporters are finding success across the world, notably in China, where nearly one in five respondents said they now have a presence.
Simon Black, Managing Director of Sage Pay, said: “As the government talks about rebalancing the economy, it could do a lot worse than look at the vibrancy and dynamism of the e-commerce sector. Competition is healthy, yet fierce and as our report shows, e-tailers are rising to the challenge by embracing new technologies, expanding into new markets and innovating with new channels to entice and excite customers.”
Social media goes mainstream
Among the stand-out findings from the Sage Pay report was the huge jump in social media usage by e-tailers over the past year. 76% of the e-tailers surveyed are now using Twitter to communicate with customers, double the number using the channel in 2010. Sage Pay also found that 76% of e-tailers now have their own Facebook page, an 18% leap from last year’s report which found 58% of top performing sites using Facebook.
Keeping Customers ’Appy
While smartphone use has exploded in 2011, Sage Pay found adoption of mobile technologies remains in its infancy among e-tailers, particularly in terms of App development. While 30% of e-tailers claimed a mobile App was part of their long-term plans, just 5% of respondents had already developed an App for their business, and 27% did not think having an App would be relevant to their business.
Simon Black noted: “What we are seeing this year is a huge amount of interest and a certain degree of hype around mobile commerce. While some early adopters are seeing success, a lot of businesses have opted to play a waiting game while they decide how to best implement their m-commerce strategy. Service providers need to offer the flexibility needed to help these businesses take full advantage of new technologies.”
The Sage Pay e-business benchmark report is designed to offer a comprehensive insight into the latest trends techniques and behaviours that are delivering success for the UK’s e-commerce businesses. This report is based on a survey of 1,000 UK e-businesses of all sizes and types and was conducted between May and June 2011.
To download a copy of the report, go to: http://www.benchmarkyourebusiness.com