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UK microbusinesses have been saved by digital technology

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(Image credit: Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sergey Nivens)

If it weren't for digital technology, some 2.7 million "microbusinesses" in the UK would have shut down during the pandemic. This represents approximately half (48 percent) of all microbusinesses in the country, according to a new report from Lloyds Bank and Be The Business.

Polling 2,000 businesses during August this year, the 2020 Transformation with Tech report found that more than a quarter (1.5 million) microbusinesses ventured into the online world for the first time. Almost half (2.6 million – 47 percent) used digital technology to simplify their business, while among those already online – 40 percent brought more business to the digital realm. While some used it to keep in touch with their customers, others used it to cut costs.

But for the majority (73 percent) – digital technology allowed them to continue operating throughout the crisis. Some were forced to tweak their business model, others used the opportunity to offer new products and services. Some diversified into new areas and others streamlined their business.

For Nick Williams, Deputy Group Transformation Director at Lloyds Bank, being online is no longer a matter of luxury, but one of pure necessity.

“With almost half of the UK’s microbusinesses admitting they would have ceased trading during the pandemic without adopting digital technology, it is vitally important that tech providers and online services continue to help small businesses get the most out of the internet,” he says. “We need to make digital adoption as easy as possible, because as our research shows, it’s a vital lifeline in keeping businesses open.”