Amazon has published the 2021 UK SME Impact Report, highlighting that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) selling on Amazon have created 175,000 jobs across the UK and recorded over £3.5 billion in export sales in 2020.
Despite COVID-19 creating a number of challenges for small and medium-sized businesses, many of them have adapted and been able to get online for the first time and thrive. Over 14,000 UK SMEs selling on Amazon surpassed £100,000 in sales, and over 1,000 reached £1 million in sales for the first time in 2020. The top five categories from which customers purchased products sold by SMEs were Home, Health & Personal Care, Toys, Apparel and Beauty.
Around 60% of all physical product sales on the Amazon store in the UK are from independent selling partners, most of whom are small and medium-sized UK businesses. There are more than 65,000 UK SMEs selling professionally on Amazon and they:
can reach hundreds of millions worldwide active customers around the globe – around 65% of them sold their products to customers around the world
sold more than 750 million products on Amazon, up from 550 million in same period the previous year – equivalent to more than 1,500 products a minute on average
recorded over £3.5 billion in export sales in 2020, a 20% increase year on yea
saw more than £300,000 in annual sales on average – up year-on-year from over £200,000.
Small businesses from across the UK are increasingly seeing success from selling on Amazon’s stores, supporting regional economies and communities. Many businesses are located outside of London – for example, North West England now has more than 8,500 SME selling partners, who together exceeded £450 million in export sales last year. Sellers in East and West Midlands exceeded £450 million in exports, while Yorkshire and the Humber achieved £150 million.
Between February 2020 and February 2021, more than 150 rural businesses generated sales of over £250,000 selling on Amazon; over 60 rural businesses exceeded £1 million in annual sales on Amazon alone, 17 of those are based in Scottish rural areas.
Through the hundreds of tools and services Amazon offers, and programmes such as the Amazon Small Business Accelerator, and Amazon Launchpad, Amazon provides small business owners, start-ups, and entrepreneurs with tools and opportunities to succeed. This extends beyond selling their products online, to include running delivery and logistics companies, using the cloud to launch and scale their businesses, creating voice apps, or publishing their own books.
“2020 was a challenging year for many small businesses, and we’ve continued to provide business owners, startups and entrepreneurs with the tools and opportunities they need to succeed. Our latest report shows even more small and medium-sized businesses growing on Amazon stores, with a thousand new British businesses reaching £1 million on Amazon stores in sales last year for the first time,” said John Boumphrey, UK Country Manager, Amazon.
“These businesses come from the length and breadth of the UK, with marked increases in the number of new sellers from Swansea and Glasgow, together with SMEs in places like Durham, Doncaster and Milton Keynes increasing their export sales by more than 50% in the last year. We will continue to innovate for our selling partners, helping more businesses across the UK to reach and deliver a great experience for millions of customers around the world.”
Bloomsbury Mill creates and designs vibrant children’s textiles from the UK, with offices in coastal Swansea and, following expansion, in Woking. Co-founder Tom Lloyd commented: “We started in 2016, when I was a new dad and saw a gap in the market for appealing, pocket-friendly and good quality nursery bedding. As an online brand operating out of the UK we’ve been thrilled to reach customers far and wide. While we’re the ones with the creativity and the business strategy, Amazon has played a key part in our growth, not only because of its role as an ecommerce platform taking plenty of day-to-day admin off our shoulders, but also through its fulfilment network helping us expand into Europe.”
Graham Stuart MP, Minister for Exports, said: “Exporting companies are more resilient, productive and pay higher wages than their peers. So it is great to see UK businesses joining Amazon’s marketplace and accessing new customers internationally. Amazon’s Small Business Accelerator programme, which helps thousands of UK entrepreneurs start or grow online businesses, will boost jobs across the UK and, for many, be the beginning of their exporting journey. The Department for International Trade is helping more small businesses start their exporting journey through a vast range of support measures, including the free trade agreements we are negotiating across the world.”
Tej Parikh, Chief Economist, Institute of Directors, added: “We welcome the SME Impact Report’s encouraging findings which demonstrate how tens of thousands of small businesses have been able to increase their resilience during the pandemic by embracing digital technology. As we look toward the future, equipping small businesses with the skills and resources they need to take advantage of digital trade will be a vital component of our successful economic recovery.”
Prime Day 2021 was the biggest two-day period ever for Amazon’s third-party sellers globally, nearly all of which are small and medium-sized businesses, growing even more than Amazon’s retail business. Customers spent over US$1.9 billion on more than 70 million small business products during the promotional period, more than a 100% year-on-year increase on sales compared to the Prime Day October 2020 promotion.
View the full 2021 Amazon UK SME Impact Report.