Continental SMEs more tech-minded

British small businesses place less of an emphasis on technology than their European counterparts, research finds.

Some 51 per cent of UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) say that IT is an integral part of their drive for business growth, increased innovation and productivity, according to new research from the Epson Business Council.

However, in France and Germany, 76 per cent consider IT integral to growth, with 73 per cent in Spain and 68 per cent in Italy agreeing.

SME technology use in the UK reflects the findings, with just one in four (27 per cent) of British SMEs using smartphones and 38 per cent using tablets, compared to more than half in France and Germany.

Chris Price, managing director at Epson says, ‘Whether it’s the cost burden, or a natural British conservatism, our attitude isn’t as bullish for the impact new technology could have on further growth as our European counterparts.’

However, the very smallest UK businesses like to use the latest technology, with the average age of most of the technology in use being around 2.2 years, compared to an average of 2.5 across European countries.

Some 70 per cent of British SMEs say that they replace IT equipment every two years, recognising the importance of staying up to date.

Price adds, ‘[Despite the findings], British small business owners still have a very healthy view of the general role technology can play in driving business growth, and clearly put in the money and time required to ensure staff are equipped with the modern tools they need to do their jobs efficiently.’

More than half (57 per cent) of British businesses say modern IT is vital for staff productivity, with one in four (27 per cent) believing it helps attract and retain staff, and only 2 per cent thinking it is an unnecessary expense.

Sara Murray, founder of adds, ‘It is the responsibility of small business owners to consider how modern technology can help them keep pace with the times, and look to make the right investment.’

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