Is your city the home of small businesses? » SMEInsider

Is your city the home of small businesses?

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The UK is outstripping the rest of Europe in terms of online exporting, with one British region in particular surpassing the rest of the country, a new piece of research has revealed.

The economy is steadily recovering from a crippling recession and we have a government who is committing itself to small businesses, so it seems that the UK is already reaping the benefits, according to findings presented by eBay’s Public Policy Lab. The report was independently analysed by law firm, Sidley Austin LLP.

The report finds that over half (51.8 per cent) of small online retail businesses in the UK are ‘global’ (exporting to four or more different continents,) more than any other European country. France follows closely on 50.6 per cent, Spain on 41.9 per cent and Italy at 34.6 per cent and Germany at 19.6 per cent. This means that the UK is Europe’s biggest exporter of online goods.

‘‘Our research shows that technology is opening up tremendous opportunities for small businesses across the UK with digital clusters spread across the country, particularly in the North West and Yorkshire,’’ said Sarah Calcott, Director of Operations at eBay UK.

The number of small British online retailers exporting to 15 or more countries has grown by 33% since 2010, and now almost all online small businesses on eBay in the UK export goods abroad – 91%, in comparison to 28% of traditional offline small businesses.

This is great news for the UK, but which region can lay claim to being the best online retailer?

The report’s authors calculated “digital densities” based on the volume of small online retail businesses operating in a region and their sales, as a proportion of the local population.

The results show that the UK is a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ in terms of online retailing. Greater Manchester tops the poll, followed by Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

The top UK regions with the highest concentration of small online retail businesses are:

1. Greater Manchester

2. Lancashire

3. West Yorkshire

4. Leicestershire, Rutland and Northamptonshire

5. Essex

6. Cheshire

7. West Midlands

8. Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire

9. Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire

10. Shropshire and Staffordshire