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Website sales grow 74% in five years, but are dominated by large companies

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The value of website sales as a proportion of business turnover increased to seven per cent in 2013, from six per cent in 2012 and five per cent in 2009. However, large companies account for a high share of sales.

“Website sales are dominated by the largest businesses with 1,000 or more employees, which contributed four per cent of the value of total e-commerce sales for all businesses. The smallest businesses, with ten to 49 employees, contributed only one per cent to the estimate of total business turnover derived from website sales,” said the report.

Website sales to private customers made up 53 per cent at £101bn, with the remaining £92bn being made to businesses or public authorities.

The largest businesses made the highest sales to private customers in 2013, however, businesses with 250-999 employees made the highest sales to businesses or public authorities at £44bn.

The wholesale sector has reported the highest value of website sales every year since 2008, reaching £60bn in 2013, up from £25bn in 2008. However, the retail sector reported the highest proportion of businesses making website sales at 37 per cent. 

The accommodation and food services demonstrated the largest growth, increasing 223 per cent increase in the value of website sales since 2008, growing from £3bn to £8bn. However, this sector was the second smallest in terms of the absolute value of website sales.

The report tracks digital capabilities of the UK businesses and found 95 per cent of businesses had broadband internet and 80 per cent had a website in 2013.

The Ecommerce and ICT Activity of UK Businesses is based on the Ecommerce Survey of UK Businesses, which speaks to 7,850 UK businesses with ten or more employees in the manufacturing, production, construction, distribution and parts of the service sectors of the economy.

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