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SMEs to splash £53 billion on digital

Spending is expected to be focused on websites over mobile technologies.

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Investment by UK SMEs in digital capabilities is planning to rise by £53 billion over the next two years.

The increased spending is expected to be spent on websites over mobile technologies, with the average firm having already committed £33,212 into digital investment in the past year.

This figure is predicted to increase by an additional £28,224 in the next two years.

8% of companies estimated that they had already spent more than £100,000 on digital capabilities in the past year, and 6% plan to increase their investment by over £100,000 in the future.

Financial services and IT sectors have been spending the most over the past year and this is expected to continue, according to SME research from Santander Corporate & Commercial.

In the past year, IT companies invested on average £46,429, with financial services investing slightly more at £49,500. The research found that this is likely to almost double for both over the next two years with £43,962 and £42,083 for IT and financial services respectively.

Stephen Dury, managing director, SME markets & business development, Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: "Investment in digital capabilities can significantly enhance business growth opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses."

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"Just having a functional website can have a dramatic impact on a firm’s visibility and connectivity with customers and other stakeholders."

"However, while it is great to see that many firms are focused on this, the concern is that a significant number are still failing to invest effectively and are therefore missing out on these opportunities"

Broken down regionally, it was found the London firms will invest the most at £42,925, a significant amount more than second placed Midlands with £31,531 and the South West in third at £19,500 planned investment.

Bucking the trend of ‘mobile first’, SME’s are placing a higher priority on their websites, with 56% stating that their websites are making their businesses more successful. Despite this, only 34% can currently accept payments online.

Over half (54%) of those who are investing in digital capabilities said they would develop their website, with only 16% planning to launch digital apps and 13% planning to develop online payment facilities.

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