More and more UK small enterprises are moving online in order to become more competitive, research suggests.
The number of businesses hiring experts to create an e-commerce site was up 19 per cent in the first three months of 2013, according to a survey by Freelancer.co.uk.
Matt Barrie, CEO of Freelancer.co.uk says that e-commerce is disrupting the retail sector so drastically that many traditional establishments are now charging money to allow consumers to see and hold an item in person – accepting that their next action will be to buy the item cheaper online.
He adds, ‘Retail outlets are proving incapable of adjusting to a consumer base no longer geographically captive. E-commerce is dominating the consumer retail landscape.
‘It’s no surprise that big name retailers that haven’t kept up with the online shopping revolution are increasingly going bankrupt. These high street dinosaurs are unwilling to compete, and so will soon be consigned to retail history.’
Barrie says that 3D design jobs are also taking off as 3D printers start to go mainstream.
Powered by open-source software, this surge in interest in 3D printing has resulted in a surge of growth for 3D modelling (up 21 per cent), 3D rendering (up 13 per cent), and 3D animation (up 6 per cent), according to the study.
He adds, ‘Previously an expensive industrial tool for rapid prototyping, advances in materials science and computing power, along with a healthy dose of investment, has seen the price of a desktop 3D printer reduce from $20,000 to $1,000 or less. This substantial cost reduction has seen 3D printing devices reach the home and spawned a whole new DIY/enthusiast/early adopter community.’
Jobs based around core web 2.0 technologies are on the rise, with HTML5 up 20 per cent, CSS up 15 per cent, and PHP, jQuery and WordPress all growing this quarter.
David Harrison, VP of engineering at Freelancer.co.uk says, ‘The underpinning tech that powers e-commerce is now mature, scalable, and cheap – you can set up a turnkey online store for as little as a couple of hundred pounds and have all the features of a massive retailer like Amazon.
‘This is enabling the massive growth of online retail as small businesses move online to sell to consumers around the globe. The technology tidal wave is breaking on the traditional retail sector.’