O2 Business has claimed that small UK businesses lacking an online presence are losing billions of pounds in missed sales opportunities each year.
The mobile operator has published the results of its O2 Business survey which questioned 2,000 UK consumers on how they shop with small businesses. A quarter of respondents indicated that they would not use a business if it did not have a website.
Based on research by OnePoll, which found that the average individual spends £232.66 less with local businesses that don't have a website, it says this adds up to £13 billion in lost annual sales for small businesses.
Of those surveyed, (68%) said they research small businesses by asking friends for reccomendations, followed by using an Internet search engine (57%), using a business directory (26%), looking at classified or adverts in a local newspaper (23%), and seeing them on the high street (35%).
Nearly two thirds (63%) of respondents considered small firms that have a web and social media presence as modern and up-to-date and nearly half (46%) felt they were customer focused.
Additionally, the survey found that one in 10 expect small companies to have an updated Facebook page.
O2 Business told TRPro: "We believe that the biggest barriers for small businesses when they're considering entering the digital world are the perceived cost and complexity.
"These is also a common misconception that customers aren't interested in using digital services. However, our research shows that these services are increasingly considered by customers when deciding where to spend their money."