Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are confident on growth despite challenges of Brexit, cashflow and customer retention
LONDON, 11 September 2019: Elavon, a leading global payments provider, has released the UK SME Pulse Index, an in-depth survey of 865 SMEs across 17 cities in the United Kingdom. The research revealed that UK SMEs feel broadly confident on their growth prospects, despite challenges such as Brexit, cashflow and customer retention. The report from Elavon also identified a growth opportunity in eCommerce, which many British SMEs have yet to tap.
While the use of eCommerce and innovative cashless technology increases, many UK SMEs have yet to embrace online sales channels and the latest payments technology. Only around half (53 percent) of businesses surveyed are trading online. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) do not have a website. These gaps in eCommerce point to the significant potential to better leverage online sales channels for growth.
Similarly, with consumers indicating they want more choice in the ways they pay, many businesses are not adopting new technology. By facilitating a variety of cashless payments methods, SMEs are poised to increase revenue via mobile wallets, through in-app payment and with next-generation, point-of-sale (POS) terminals. One-third of SMEs indicate concern about keeping pace with these technological changes. Lack of knowledge is an issue with one in four SMEs (24 percent), admitting they don’t understand the payment options available.
Hannah Fitzsimons, European Executive Vice President and General Manager of Elavon Europe
comments: “SMEs make up the largest proportion of our customers, and a significant portion of the private sector business in the UK. Understanding their perceptions and concerns is critical. Our research highlights that businesses are positive about their growth.”
“Smaller companies tend to be more positive and entrepreneurial. They are concerned with getting paid on time and securing repeat business to stay viable. Elavon is committed to providing expertise and payments solutions to help SMEs grow online and physically in face-to-face environments.”
Confidence and challenges
The survey shows that the retail, catering and leisure (73 percent) sectors are most likely to engage in eCommerce. Also, 18 percent of retail, catering and leisure SMEs indicate that 90 to 100 percent of their sales are generated online. Among SMEs with an eCommerce presence, sales made online (48 percent) and offline (52 percent) are nearly split.
Card payments are most common payments, with cash waning
The research found that businesses primarily use card payments – in person or online -- with cash on the decline. Card payments (44 percent) comprise the most common payment method, followed by bank transfers (36 percent). Just 11 percent of SMEs reported that they trade mainly in cash. In-app transactions make up five percent of payments. The most infrequent payment types are cheques and other methods (2 percent each).
Elavon commissioned Opinion Matters to survey 865 SMEs from 17 UK cities 22 May to 4 June 2019. The research considers the operating and payments environment for UK SMEs in the year ahead by examining market conditions, opportunities and concerns. For a full copy of Elavon’s SME Index please
Notes to editors
Corporate Communications, Europe
Alexander Clelland or Anushka Mathew, Houston Public Relations: +44 (0)20 3936 1888 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Elavon is a leading global payments company with more than 4,300 employees and operations in 10 countries. A subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB), Elavon provides businesses with the technology needed to accept payments from customers, whether they are shopping in stores, at home or on the go. Its platform is distinctive in that it is common across countries, making it easier for businesses to get their payment system up and running quickly and securely.
Elavon Financial Services DAC, trading as Elavon Merchant Services, is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and the Prudential Regulation Authority and subject to limited regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority. Details about the extent of our authorisation and regulation by the Prudential Regulation Authority, and regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority are available from us on request.