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Just over a third of retailers sold via a website in 2013: ONS

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Just over a third of UK retailers (37%) sold online via a website last year, new official figures suggest.

Today’s Office for National Statistics report, Ecommerce and ICT Activity 2013, put the total value of 2013 retail website sales at £28.7bn.

Almost 20% UK business turnover, or £557bn, came from ecommerce in 2013, the report suggests. The proportion was two percentage points greater than in 2012, when 18% of company turnover was from ecommerce, and the UK ranked fifth in Europe for the proportion of businesses sales made online. Of the total, some 65% of total ecommerce sales, worth £364bn, were made via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) while 35% (£193bn) came from website sales.

Just 22% of UK businesses sold online last year, although 80% of businesses had a website and 95% had broadband internet. By contrast, 51% of businesses bought online in 2013. Larger companies dominated ecommerce in 2013, with 46% of all UK ecommerce sales made by businesses with 1,000 or more employees. The 22% selling online was an increase from 2009, when 17% used the internet to sell. Of website sales, 53% worth £101bn, were to private customers, while 47%, worth £92bn were to businesses or public bodies.

Last year also saw 42% of businesses use social networks and 24% buy cloud computing services.

The ONS estimates are based on the 2013 Ecommerce Survey of UK Businesses, which questioned 7,850 UK businesses with 10 or more employees in the manufacturing, production, construction, distribution, retail and other service sectors.

The highest levels of ecommerce sales came from the wholesale (£219bn) and manufacturing (£147bn) sectors. Construction sector businesses reported a 50% rise in ecommerce sales to £6bn in 2013. But this accounted for only 1% of all ecommerce sales.

Wholesale businesses accounted for the highest value of sales specifically made through websites, worth £60bn in 2013, and up from £25bn in 2008. But retail had the highest proportion of businesses selling online, at 37%, and worth £28.7bn.

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