Amazon Research Uncovers Challenges for European SMEs Going Digital

Key Takeaways:

  • Amazon's recent research reveals that 70% of small and medium business owners in Europe lack confidence in scaling their businesses online.
  • SMEs seek support, especially in utilizing logistics networks (73%) and navigating VAT and customs compliance (70%).
  • With 82% acknowledging the benefits of digital sales, SMEs are keen on leveraging e-commerce to reach a broader customer base.
  • Despite challenges, business owners spend an average of 10 hours a week, equivalent to 65 days per year, on upskilling and understanding online sales dynamics.

Dive Insights:

European SMEs recognize the potential of e-commerce but face barriers to implementation and digitization. Xavier Flamand, VP of Amazon Europe Seller Services, emphasizes Amazon's commitment to supporting SMEs. 

With the SME landscape in Europe experiencing an 18% growth over the last 14 years and employing nearly 84.6 million people, there is a substantial opportunity for these businesses to tap into online selling. An overwhelming 82% of SME owners recognize the benefits and added value that a digital sales approach could bring, signaling a keen interest in leveraging e-commerce for extended reach and increased sales.

Despite the existing barriers, SME owners are displaying a determined commitment to achieving digital success. On average, they invest approximately 10 hours a week—equivalent to 65 days per year—in upskilling efforts, exploring ways to scale up, and adapting to the dynamics of online sales.

SMEs are particularly interested in understanding supply chains, delivery options, logistics, and regulations. Lack of experience can lead to added pressure for businesses to ensure compliance with varying country regulations.

Amazon offers a range of resources, including Seller University, Perfect Launch, Compliance Solutions, and VAT Knowledge Centre, to guide SMEs in navigating the complexities of e-commerce. Businesses confident in scaling up are twice as likely to be Amazon sellers, showcasing the platform's role in facilitating growth for SMEs.

In the rapidly evolving digital landscape, Amazon's research sheds light on the challenges faced by European SMEs in embracing e-commerce. With a majority recognizing the benefits of going digital, the key lies in bridging the knowledge gap. Amazon, with its array of tools and support, aims to empower SMEs, turning their digital aspirations into successful realities.


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