In an Age Where 50% of Purchases Are Made Online, 74% of Small Businesses Still Don't Have E-Commerce

As ridiculous as it may look, 74% of small businesses still don’t use their websites for e-commerce. This is alarming because we live in an age where pretty much every aspect of our lives is intertwined with the Web.

This data was released in May by SurePayroll, an SME payroll company providing online payroll services, marking the importance for small businesses to put efforts into exploring e-commerce opportunities.

Another interesting finding suggests that 28% of small businesses don’t even have a company website. Given that mobile shopping-related searches increased 120% in the last year, businesses are almost digging themselves a grave by not shifting efforts towards the digital experience (m-commerce, especially).

Moreover, the vital necessity to turn to mobile shopping experience is also supported by the fact that by the end of 2021, 90% of mobile data traffic is expected to be from smartphones.

However, regardless of the widely recognized trend towards e-commerce/m-commerce, SMEs don’t fully realize the importance of digital channels yet. In fact, almost half (42%) of SMEs from the study think the Web really isn’t that important to their business.

However, there is some hope for the growth of e-commerce among SMEs, since 25% probably would have e-commerce channels, but they reported to be in need for help to build content for their websites.

How do small businesses build their websites?

Small businesses can’t usually allocate significant funds into website design and development. However, data suggests that more than half (52%) of small businesses hire a creative agency or Web development company to do all the website work for them, which is probably a sign of good standing of those companies. They seem to have a good understanding of the importance of the digital face of the company.

Meanwhile, ~20% of SMEs rely on freelance designers/Web developers and 11% do everything by themselves as they have enough of a Web background.

Since there are plenty of tools nowadays allowing to build quite a decent website with no Web development experience at all, they also found their way into the business community. About 17% of small businesses are reported to be using those service to build their website.


Among small businesses that have e-commerce, 74% of small businesses have put effort into optimizing their websites for mobile devices. Some (8%) even built a separate mobile website.

However, there are 19% that do not have a mobile-optimized website, which is quite a high rate given that the future of businesses is most likely in mobile and every day, it’s becoming almost late to just start on mobile efforts.


The UPS study on online shopping published just yesterday revealed that more than 50% of all purchases made by respondents are now made online, which is up from 48% in 2015. Small businesses ought to catch up with consumer shopping habits and invest in building appropriate online shopping experiences.

As Teresa Finley, Chief Marketing Officer at UPS, commented, Consumers are skilled at using technology to their advantage and thrive on gathering information when shopping. This year’s UPS study revealed that 45% of online shoppers love the thrill of hunting for and finding great deals, and that physical stores continue to play an important role in that experience. The challenge is how to best engage with shoppers to fulfill their desires.