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UK: a nation of digital shop keepers

posted 2 Nov 2010, 06:58 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 2 Nov 2010, 07:00 ]
An independant report commissioned by US search engine Google and carried out by Boston Consulting Group, shows the internet is worth £100 bln to the British economy and an estimated 7.2 percent of GDP.
UK-INTERNET ECONOMY - Jo Riley is living her dream on England's south-west coast.

She moved from London to Cornwall to open a gift store - selling high-end woollen products.

That was three years ago - just as Britain's economy began to stumble.

Jo Riley, Atlantic Blanket Company,. saying:

"At that point I think things were just about to dip or they were heading down anyway but I think if you're starting something in a recession you don't know any better so every sale is great, every transaction is a positive one and we've grown year on year."

Cornwall is one of Europe's poorest regions and although Padstow is a relatively prosperous town thanks to tourism, Jo says its her online business which holds the key to bigger profits.

 Jo Riley, Atlantic Blanket Company,. saying:

"It's absolutely critical, I mean in terms of the growth of the business that's where the growth it going to come."

A new report commissioned by Google shows Jo's not alone.

The internet already contributes £100 billion pounds each year to Britain's economy and its expected to carry on growing.

The report, carried out by Boston Consulting Group, also showed companies which embraced the web, saw sales on average increase by more than 4 percent - while those which didn't saw little or no growth.

Jo says finding a niche market is the key.

Jo Riley, Atlantic Blanket Company,. saying:

"All of our stuff is sourced from around the British Isles and western Europe so we're not importing anything, but I think most importantly what we're trying to do is showcase a traditional product, something with a lot of heritage but in a contemporary way."

Britain is now the world's leading country for e-commerce,

For every pound imported online - 2 pounds 80 is exported - compare that to the off-line figures and the importance of the internet to the UK economy is clear.

Last year businesses like Jo's accounted for around 7.2 percent of GDP - that's expected to double within five years.

With the country facing the biggest spending cuts for a generation that's a statistic to which will warm the hearts of many in Britain during the winter months.

Hayley Platt, Reuters.

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