Lloyds Bank publishes UK Business Digital Index

UK Digital Business Index published

UK growth prospects could be affected by SMEs slow take up of digital technology

As part of its commitment as a founder partner of Go ON UK - a cross-sector charity aiming to make the UK the most digitally skilled nation - Lloyds Bank has designed the first annual UK Business Digital Index. The Index tracks the use of digital technology among businesses and charities, including their use of social media; online sales; adoption of online security measures; use of digital advertising; and level of basic online skills based on consumer surveys and analysis.

Businesses tell us that they struggle to find the time to get digitally active, in some cases they don’t necessarily have the right skills or the right people, or they are struggling to find the investment to be able to get online.

Jen Tippin, Managing Director of Retail Business Banking

SMEs unaware of digital benefits

Thousands of UK businesses and charities could be jeopardising their future growth prospects because they do not see the benefits of digital technology and are not doing enough to develop their digital skills, according to the new UK Business Digital Index published today by Lloyds Bank, in association with Accenture and Go ON UK - a cross-sector charity aiming to make the UK the most digitally skilled nation.
A third of business and charities believe that being online is not relevant to them – showing an urgent need for education on the benefits of going online.

There is a real blind spot for many firms who are doing the basics but can’t see the benefits of doing more. Businesses that are willing to invest for the long term could reap huge rewards from digital technology.

Miguel-Ángel Rodríguez-Sola, Group Director for Digital, Marketing & Customer Development at Lloyds Banking Group

Room for improvement

According to the findings, only half of UK businesses and charities (50%) have a website; and over one in ten (11%) do not have access to or use the internet.  Even among organisations with a website, most are not reaching their full potential – only one in five (18%) allow customers to purchase goods/services or donate from their site and only a fraction (4%) can take payments in different currencies online, which limits their ability to export to other markets.

We are world leaders in e-commerce, yet this report shows that the transformative power of digital is not being fully exploited by SMEs and charities in the UK and the main barrier is about perceived benefits of digital.

Baroness Martha Lane-Fox, Chair of GO ON UK

Clear business benefits

Among those organisations that have adopted digital technology, there are clear benefits reported. Almost two fifths (37%) of SME’s and charities believe that wider geographic coverage is the main benefit of being online. Time saving and effective marketing are also prominent benefits.
 
The Business Digital Index also shows a correlation between the adoption of digital technology and businesses’ likelihood to be optimistic about their own prospects and the health of the UK economy. More than two fifths (41%) of the most digitally mature SME’s and charities rate themselves as confident on the prospects for the UK Economy, against more than a third (34%) overall.

Clear business benefits

Helping SMEs make the most of digital

As supporters of Go ON UK, Lloyds Bank is always looking to improve the digital services we offer customers, helping them better manage their businesses and lives and provide a boost to the UK economy.
The Index is the first of its kind in the UK and will allow us to measure the level of digital maturity of SMEs in the UK and to demonstrate areas for improvement as well as how we can support them.
There is a strong need for education on the benefits. Increased digital skills and use of the internet, both in individuals and SMEs, will produce great social benefits, help avoid the ‘digital blind-spot’ and provide an enormous boost to the UK economy.

We are always looking to improve the digital services we offer to our customers, helping them better manage their businesses and lives. We want the community to share in the benefits of the internet and ultimately create prosperity for the UK.

Miguel-Ángel Rodríguez-Sola, Group Director for Digital, Marketing & Customer Development at Lloyds Banking Group