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Scots Claim U.K. E-Commerce Lead

[London, ENGLAND] It's only a narrow lead, but government-funded agency Scottish Enterprise claims 29 percent of businesses in Scotland now "trade online" -- compared to a total U.K. figure of 27 percent.

Looked at another way, the figures released by Scottish Enterprise on Tuesday show that 79 percent of Scottish businesses have an online presence, which is actually slightly lower than the U.K. average of 81 percent.

Either way, Scotland and the rest of the U.K. are revealed to be in the top group countries that use e-commerce, along with Canada, the U.S., Sweden and Germany. And of those businesses in Scotland that are not using e-commerce, 75 percent say they intend to adopt it -- a figure that is exactly the same for the U.K. as a whole.

Robert Crawford, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, said the figures were good news for Scotland. Noting that only 60 percent of Scottish businesses were online last year he said that significant progress has clearly been made, although there is no room for complacency.

Charlie Watt, director of e-business at Scottish Enterprise, thought that Scotland had enhanced its competitive position in relation to the U.K. as a whole this year.

"We intend to help accelerate the adoption of e-applications, giving businesses the competitive edge they require to ensure future profitability," said Watt.

Among other statistics released by Scottish Enterprise on Tuesday were that 87 percent of Scotland's workforce work in businesses connected to the Internet. (Again, this is slightly lower than the U.K. as a whole where the figure -- according to Scottish Enterprise -- is 9 out of 10).

The figures, however, do not include so-called "micro-businesses," that is, firms with with fewer than 10 employees. 53 percent of Scottish micro-businesses are now online compared with 55 percent in the U.K. as a whole. Last year, this figure for U.K. was only 15 percent.

For the purposes of the study, Scottish Enterprise defined trading online as meaning the use of either online ordering or online payments, in either inward or outward direction. This very broad definition may account for the figures appearing to be so surprisingly high.



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