The number of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) using the internet and social networking sites to sell and market their products and services has risen sharply over the past year, a recent business survey by PeoplePerHour has shown.
The 2012 Small Business Survey, which questioned the working practices of 1,300 SMEs, found that the number of businesses selling exclusively online had risen by nearly a third (31 per cent) compared to last year. Similarly, the number of businesses which sold more than half their products online had increased by 27 per cent.
Figures from the latest annual survey indicated that over a quarter of SMEs exclusively sold their products online - up from 18 per cent the previous year - and that nearly half of them made more than 50 per cent of their sales online - up from 37 per cent the year before.
The same survey also found that the vast majority (91 per cent) of SMEs actively used social media sites to recruit new staff, find work and market themselves.
The comparative results reveal small businesses' growing reliance on ecommerce over the course of just a year.
PeoplePerHour's CEO, Xenios Thrasyvoulou, commented on the survey saying that businesses are adequately adapting to a fast changing economic landscape.
"The move to ecommerce won't be news to the majority of observers of the UK small business sector," he says.
"What will come as a surprise, however, is the pace with which the UK small business community is embracing the opportunities offered by the internet. We're witnessing a paradigm shift in the way small businesses market their products and sell their products and services - and it's happening at an incredible pace."
According to Thrasyvoulou, SMEs are particularly attracted by the broad scope and cost-effectiveness of ecommerce.
He continued: "The biggest incentive to sell online is the reach it affords you. Before widespread broadband internet, you were limited to a small, local market. Now nimble, forward-thinking SMEs can trade globally in minutes."