The UK is now the third largest market for e-commerce globally, and it is predicted that by 2024 95 percent of all retail sales will be conducted with the help of an e-commerce platform. And a leading incubator of SMEs in Wales and the UK, Storage Giant, says start-ups across its facilities are running with this trend that is reshaping our economic habits for good.
Simon Williams, MD of Newport-based Storage Giant, which incubates thousands of SMEs at its Welsh sites in Newport, Swansea, Cardiff, Cwmbran and Llanelli, as well as in the Midlands, Bristol and beyond, says: “The UK is the largest B2C market in Europe with online shoppers now making up 81 percent of the population and this is, of course, something that it not lost on the thousands of entrepreneurs who have established small business during the pandemic. We see many enterprising people across all sectors realising their business ambitions under our roof, with e-commerce being a huge factor in their business model. The business landscape is ever evolving, and the e-commerce boom has been accelerated by the pandemic, which had greatly disrupted the way we shop and consume.”
The soaring popularity of online shopping experienced during the Covid-19 Pandemic looks set to stay, with a projected 66 percent rise in the number of UK consumers stating their intentions to shop all, or mostly online once restrictions are fully lifted, according to the UPS E-commerce Report 2021, produced in partnership with YouGov. It also anticipates a 125 percent increase in UK shoppers over the age of 55 buying all, or mostly online in a post-pandemic UK.
Simon adds: “The tools of e-commerce allows small firms to compete with larger companies despite the size disparity, and this is certainly a strong environment for more entrepreneurs to set up shop online. In the first quarter of 2020, e-commerce made up 20.3 percent of total retail in the UK. By the second quarter, this share had risen to 31.3 percent according to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development)
Simon adds: “We are seeing entrepreneurs Investing in secure online platforms that do justice to their brands, and that function well with the latest search engine algorithms, to provide a seamless online buying and selling experience. We provide office space and storage space for thousands of B2C and B2B sees, as well as C2C – those sole traders who focus upon purchasing products online and selling them on. Typically, these begin as e-bay sellers, but we are seeing an increasing number spin these endeavours into stable and growing businesses. E-commerce added £5.3bn to the UK economy in 2020 alone. The key predictions are for a rise in household, cosmetics and grocery categories, as well as electrical and white goods, clothes and footwear.”
Storage Giant is the largest private self-storage provider in Wales and the second largest in the UK. It has sites across Wales, The Midlands and the M4 corridor, and it is pressing ahead with plans to open new sites in Bridgend, Nottingham, and two in the West Midlands in the coming months.