London, 26 Sep 2006
This is one of a series of Communications Market Special Reports, focusing specifically on the attitudes and motivations of small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) towards communications services.
SMEs are a critical part of the UK economy, accounting for 99% of businesses in the UK and over half of the UK’s employment and turnover. The EU’s Lisbon Agenda has set the target of making the EU the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy by 2010 and the way businesses access and engage with communications technology is a fundamental part of achieving this goal.
This report considers the extent to which traditional company profile criteria (such as company size, industry sector, age of business, geography and plans for growth) explain the differences in how SMEs engage with communications services. It also presents a segmentation model, based upon the role that communications services play within an SME. Our belief is that the SME market cannot be fully understood without consideration of both these dimensions.
The report findings will be used to provide an evidence base for the various bodies involved in regulatory and policy work relating to SMEs. Further analysis of the role-based segments will support Ofcom’s efforts to promote media literacy in the UK, defining groups of SMEs who display gaps in their awareness and understanding of, and confidence and competence with, communications services.
The report complements other research published by Ofcom during 2006, including the annual Communications Market (published in August 2006), its sister publication, The Communications Market: Nations and Regions (published in April 2006), and Consumer Engagement with Digital Communications Services (published in July 2006).
We hope that this report will provide a valuable resource for Ofcom and other stakeholders, informing efforts to promote engagement with communications services among small and medium sized businesses in the UK.
David Currie Executive Chairman