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Online small businesses are more optimistic than pessimistic for 2016: study

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A new study suggests that small businesses that trade online are more optimistic than pessimistic about their prospects in 2016.

The eBay Small Business Optimism Index questioned 409 small businesses that trade online, including on eBay, and found that 49% were upbeat about their outlook for 2016, while 22% were pessimistic about the UK economy and about their own outlook.

Some 13% of small online businesses predicted they would employ more staff over the next year, while the same proportion expected to export to more markets, and 40% expected to broaden the range of products that they sold.

Kit Glover, director of professional selling at eBay UK , said: “The business community should be very encouraged by the findings of our Small Business Optimism Index. Despite a tough retail environment, the fact that digital small businesses are looking to expand their product offerings, export to more foreign markets and thus employ more people here in the UK can only be a good thing.”

Case study

Woodford-based LaptopOutletDirect was primarily a bricks and mortar business until the eBay acquisition team approached it in 2010 to bring the business online. Now, 98% of the business is run online. LaptopOutletDirect said November 2015, which included Black Friday and in which it sold 7,500 Windows Linx Tablets, was its most successful month in 2015. In 2016 it aims to grow its business by more than a fifth.

Manu Hussain, managing director of LaptopOutletDirect, said:

“Selling on eBay has been a game changer for the business. It’s given us a bigger roadmap, both in terms of its customer base and by virtue of the deals we’ve been able to negotiate with suppliers as a result of this reach.”

“We aim to achieve 22% growth year-on-year. In 2016, we’re developing on our current portfolio and investing in a greater range of mobile and smartphone products, as well as gaming consoles. As many of our customers are returnees, we’re developing our social media strategy to keep them engaged. Things like running competitions have worked well, and we’re moving into product reviews and blogging to develop stronger ties with our customer base.”

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