British SMEs are losing £18.77bn a year because of poor connectivity, costing the UK economy, an estimated loss of £7.7bn every year.
The research, conducted by Three UK, YouGov and Development Economics, found that micro-businesses and small to medium sized firms, who provide their employees with work phones, are losing out on an average of one hour of working time per employee per week, as staff battle with poor connectivity.
For medium-sized businesses this equated to 250 hours of working time per week.
The areas hit hardest were professional services – including legal, accounting and media businesses – and retail, which are two of the largest sectors in the UK economy.
The research found that professional services firms lost £5.3bn in revenue on average per year due to poor connectivity, accounting for an annual output loss of £2.8bn to the economy, while the retail sector lost £3.7bn in revenue per year because of poor technology, resulting in an annual loss of £560m in output to the British economy.
These figures come at a particularly challenging time for businesses. Amidst rising costs and inflation, almost three quarters (71 per cent) of SMEs have been made more aware of areas where they need to reduce spending because of the cost of living crisis, with nearly a third believing they are paying too much for phone contracts and looking to cut costs.
Simultaneously, nearly a third of SMEs are worried they could lose employees due to the not having good technology. This figure rises to almost half (48%) amongst medium-sized businesses, which is especially worrying at a time where talent shortage is impacting most industries.
A lack of support and knowledge are a barrier to adopting the latest technology for these enterprises, with almost half (48 per cent) of SMEs stating that the technology industry uses complex technical language that they don’t understand.
Snehal Bhudia, Director of Business Propositions & Go to Market at Three UK said the figures were “alarming”.
“Many technology propositions are aimed at larger corporate structures and fail to meet the needs of smaller businesses. Technology providers must therefore better tailor their services towards the needs of SMEs; ensuring their offerings are really simple, giving them the tools that put them in control and doing so with a level of service that’s usually only reserved for large corporates,” she said.
The company recently launched the Three Business Adapt to directly tackle this problem, which gives biz owners an enhanced tech offering.