Online companies see rapid growth

Businesses in the online sector are growing 57 times faster than those are not, results from the Barclays' Online Business Outlook 2013 have shown.

Online companies experienced an average growth of 11.4 per cent over the last three years, despite tough economic conditions, it revealed. This compared to the UK economy growing just 0.2 per cent in the same period.

The positive figures mean that almost two thirds (64%) of online businesses are optimistic about their own growth prospects for the year ahead.

Looking forward, these businesses cited increased competition in the sector as the biggest threat they face.

Sean Duffy, managing director and head of technology, media and telecoms at Barclays, said: "Online businesses have bucked the trend over the last three years and experienced success in spite of the stagnant economic conditions. The next challenge for companies operating online is sustaining this level of growth and ensuring that they take advantage of new and rising trends."

He added: "Businesses that fail to move with the times risk losing out on valuable ecommerce opportunities."

In particular, the research looked at business's attitudes to mobile and 4G networks, which allow faster connection and data downloads.

Although 64 per cent of online businesses believe a mobile strategy is an important factor to consider in 2013, the same number admitted they had done little to prepare.

According to the data, 34 per cent of online businesses have seen a rise in mobile traffic to their site since Christmas, and over half believe that introduction of 4G will increase mobile traffic to their site further still.