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Manufacturers in the Midlands lag behind on e-commerce activity

Manufacturers in the Midlands lag behind on e-commerce activity

Small-scale manufacturers in the Midlands are the least likely to use e-commerce technology to generate sales, new analysis reveals.

Just 27 per cent of firms across the region now sell goods online, well below the UK average of 38 per cent.

The East of England came out on top at 47 per cent, while London ranked second at 41 per cent and the South West third at 38 per cent.

The figures were published in a new report - which also found that manufacturers who invest in their e-commerce capabilities enjoy average margins of 57 per cent.

In contrast, those who depend on traditional sales channels, achieve a 46 per cent margin.

Unleashed Software, whose supply chain management platform supports more than 4,000 businesses globally, compiled the figures from a sample of 385 UK manufacturers.

Analysts at the tech company, which is now part of The Access Group, collected 79,000 data points generated from firms’ day-to-day operations, including sales orders, EU exports and e-commerce activity.

Stephen Jones, regional manager at Unleashed Software, said:

“SMEs are the backbone of both the manufacturing industry and UK economy, so it’s reassuring that firms in the Midlands are lagging so far behind their counterparts in surrounding areas. The region has a rich industrial heritage but it’s important to embrace new technologies in order to remain relevant.

“There was an explosion of e-commerce activity during the pandemic but while much of the focus was on the consumer sector, firms further down the supply chain also see it as a way to differentiate themselves in a competitive market. They know that business customers are as driven by convenience and competitive pricing as the average shopper.

“Our research found that e-commerce can significantly improve margins, which could help protect them from price hikes in materials and labour.”

Go to and download your free copy of The Unleashed Software 2021 UK Manufacturing Report.

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