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4 July 2001 (A0107) ~ In the first of what will be an annual report, ecommerce software developer, Actinic has announced
the results of research into the UK SME ecommerce market. The survey of 424 randomly selected businesses with 1-499
staff from the retail, manufacturing and wholesale sectors was conducted by pfa Research. Overall the findings show that
despite the present ‘dot-com gloom’, a significant proportion of Britain’s small business owners are committed to the web as
a sales channel. For example, 76% of those companies who have a web site but don’t yet sell online, are planning to include
the facility within the near future.

The full report is available at or by email to:

All statistics quoted in the report are proportions of the sample and not of the UK’s total SME market. The highlights

· Plenty of room for growth, but 9% of the whole sample is already taking orders online (i.e. not using email as an order
taking tool, but downloading actual credit card details).

· Of companies in the sample who have a web site but don’t yet sell online, 76% are planning to include an ecommerce

· 30% of SMEs with a web site stated that they have become more likely to sell online during the last six months. In
particular, businesses of 1-9 employees have significantly shifted their attitudes positively towards selling online in the last half

· Expectations of ecommerce are being met - 72% stated that they had met or exceeded expectations and 59% of web
stores are already profitable (71% of these became profitable within 6 months).

· The SME’s biggest justification for setting up an ecommerce site is to increase sales and open up new markets.

· Key considerations for SMEs in selecting an ecommerce system are:

o Retaining control over the set up and updating of their product catalogue

o Cost, i.e. low initial investment and rapid move into site profitability

o Ease of use

· The average (mean) investment for setting up an e-store is £2,400. 41% of organisations have built their store
themselves and 40% have had their store built by a web designer.

“Actinic already uses several avenues to keep in touch with both its customers’ needs and how the SME market generally is
evolving, and this survey is an important additional tool. It will be an ongoing annual report to monitor and measure trends in
the UK ecommerce market,” comments Nick Kington, marketing director at Actinic. He adds, “Although it was not one of
our aims, one pleasing statistic that came out of the responses was that more UK SMEs use Actinic as their ecommerce
application than any other software package.”

The research had three objectives:

1. To understand current adoption and intention to adopt ecommerce amongst UK SMEs

2. To establish views and perceptions of UK SMEs towards selling on the net

3. To understand experiences of current web store owners and whether they have met their expectations

It was conducted in two phases across a random sample of 424 UK SME organisations with 1- 499 employees. In Phase 1
the participants were screened to establish whether they have or are planning web sites, and whether they have product
suitable for selling on the net. Phase 2 took a closer look at businesses that have already implemented the ability to sell online
and sought a more detailed view on their experiences and opinions.

About Actinic plc:

Founded in July 1996 and floated in May 2000 on the London Stock Exchange, Actinic is a company focused on developing
ecommerce software for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who want to sell online. The software is sold through channel
partners including web designers and developers, Internet Service Providers, web hosts and traditional IT VARs. Actinic
Catalog is a boxed software solution for setting up and managing a secure online B2C web store. Actinic Business is a more
sophisticated solution for selling business-to-business.
Used on thousands of live sites in 33 countries, some of Actinic's better known UK users include the London Symphony
Orchestra, the Royal Opera House, Sony Europe, Robert Dyas, Focus Do-it-All, Ericsson, J & J Crombie, Michel Roux's
Waterside Inn, Essex and Worcestershire County Cricket Clubs, Fulham FC, easyJet gifts, Letts Diaries, Royal National
Institute for Deaf People, Anything Left-handed, Devon and West Sussex County Councils. Actinic has sales and marketing
bases in Weybridge (Surrey), New Jersey (USA) and Paris with a technical centre in Birmingham. Visit


Nick Kington,
Tel 01932 871000

Jane Lee,
Dexterity (PR for Actinic)
Tel 01273 470199

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Dexterity in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit