Amazon has published its UK SME Impact Report which highlights how small and medium-sized enterprises selling on its site have created 250,000 jobs across the UK. Many small business owners have been able to adapt to recent challenges and thrive online for the first time. Over 15,000 UK SMEs selling on Amazon surpassed £100,000 in sales last year, and over 700 reached sales of £1 million or more for the first time.
More than half of all physical product sales on the Amazon store in the UK are from independent selling partners, most of who are small and medium-sized businesses. More than 85,000 UK SMEs now sell on Amazon – up more than 25% year-on-year. These businesses reached hundreds of millions of customers around the globe in 2021 – more than half of UK-based sellers exported to another country. They also sold more than 950 million products on Amazon, up from 750 million the year before, which is equivalent to more than 1,750 products a minute on average.
SMEs from across the UK are increasingly seeing success from selling on Amazon’s stores, supporting regional economies and communities. Many of these businesses are located outside of London – for example, North West England now has more than 12,000 sellers, up 35% compared to the year before; Wales has over 2,500 sellers, up around a third on the year before; and Scotland has around 4,000 sellers, up around 30% on 2020. Across major UK cities, SMEs based in Manchester, Belfast and Glasgow selling on Amazon recorded some of the highest average annual revenues, surpassing the average annual revenue of London-based sellers.
Last year around 50,000 sellers in the UK used Amazon’s fast shipping and inventory management service, Fulfilment by Amazon, and grew their sales by 25% on average. Amazon Business, the professional procurement solution, helped tens of thousands of UK sellers reach more than five million businesses worldwide, selling around 20 million items across office supplies, hospitality, healthcare, maintenance products and IT goods, generating over £400 million in sales. Through the hundreds of tools and services Amazon offers, and programmes like 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.
Amazon has also announced the launch of its upgraded Amazon Small Business Accelerator, which will serve the evolving needs of the UK’s thriving small business community, hosted on Amazon.co.uk as an accessible and free-to-use suite of resources for all startups, entrepreneurs and small or medium-sized businesses. Current and aspiring business leaders can now access more than 20 courses and 50+ videos of content on topics like how to build a business online, supercharging operations, growing sales and creating a social media presence, bringing the best in class from the country’s small business experts and Amazon leaders.
“Supporting UK small businesses to fulfil their potential remains an essential part of what we do. Today we’re proud to launch our revamped Amazon Small Business Accelerator, which will help even more small businesses across the UK. Many people told us the Accelerator was the catalyst for them to start a new business during and since the pandemic, so we are excited to see how many more we can reach with new content, events and partners,” said John Boumphrey, UK Country Manager, Amazon. “In addition, the SME Impact Report shows many small businesses are proving resilient, and thriving against a challenging backdrop, with continued sales growth at home and abroad by using Amazon’s world leading services to help them.”
The new Amazon Small Business Accelerator also includes ‘Amazon Masterclasses’ to help people learn from the company’s senior leaders about decision making, innovation, customer obsession and more; and a range of new partners including Be the Business, Planet Mark, and The Federation of Small Businesses, who will deliver online content and specialist in-depth workshops and bootcamps. From September, Planet Mark and Amazon will host roundtables on how small businesses can improve their packaging, operational emissions and materials innovation; later this year, The Federation of Small Businesses and Amazon will run events focused on the protecting businesses from fraud, managing finances and fundraising processes.
More than 600,000 businesses have accessed the Accelerator since it started more than two years ago, in partnership with Enterprise Nation, launched as a direct response to the impact of the pandemic on the startup and SME community, with the aim of helping more than 200,000 businesses of all sizes to start and grow online.
Julian David, techUK CEO, said: “As we enter difficult economic waters ensuring the next generation of business leaders have the training, insight, and resources they need to innovate and thrive will be fundamental to protecting jobs and ensuring the UK can bounce back. The Amazon Small Business Accelerator is, therefore, an important and consequential initiative. techUK is proud to work with over 500 SMEs in our membership and thousands more across the tech sector, we will continue to back initiatives such as the Accelerator that can help them fulfil their full potential.”
Steve Malkin, CEO of Planet Mark, said: “As well as helping SMEs grow and succeed, this exciting partnership enables us to help SMEs on their path to net zero, while educating them on the benefits of embedding sustainability into everyday business practices and how this can help drive performance. Planet Mark has helped hundreds of SMEs embrace sustainability and cut carbon, and now working with Amazon and partners we look forward to helping thousands more small businesses thrive while also making a difference in our fight against climate change.”
Caroline Lavelle, Chief Commercial Officer, The Federation of Small Businesses, said: “It’s always good to see companies like Amazon play a role in supporting our smaller businesses to improve their online presence and reach. We hope that many of our members will find this useful.”
Dominique Woolf, founder of The Woolf’s Kitchen, is one of the more than 85,000 UK SMEs selling products on Amazon. In June 2020, Dominique, a professionally-trained chef, created a range of sauces inspired by her Thai heritage and started selling to independent farm-shops and delis. Later that year she joined an Amazon Small Business Accelerator bootcamp which inspired her to start selling online. She said: “The bootcamps highlighted the true benefits of Amazon and ecommerce – they provided the fundamentals in how to grow a small business online, and then provided a load of free resources which I’ve been able to access regularly. The Accelerator also made selling on Amazon much less daunting. As the first port of call for most of my customers, my business has grown substantially on Amazon. I would definitely recommend anyone trying to scale their business to consider looking into the new Accelerator and signing up.”
Amazon Small Business Seller Case Study Stories:
David Gutfreund, Founder & Simon Haughton, Marketing Director of The Light Factory, the online retailer of lighting for the home, commented:“We’re passionate about helping customers to enhance their homes with fantastic lighting, and with Amazon’s support we have been able to grow our business and reach even more homes around the UK. We are fortunate to have kept growing The Light Factory even through more challenging periods, investing in our teams and our product ranges, with the benefit of Amazon’s infrastructure and account management services. We have been able to pilot initiatives in partnership with Amazon, providing mutual benefits and learnings. One such project resulted in our Manchester warehouse being approved to offer the Amazon Prime Badge, which means we drive volume through our own infrastructure, with Amazon’s support on the logistics. This partnership has allowed us to continuously invest and grow The Light Factory, and we feel privileged to now employ more than 100 people from the local area.”
Eddie Latham, founder of Majority Velocity Commerce, the direct-to-consumer seller of digital radios and speakers: “You look at the number of units that we are selling each year and the customers we’re reaching with such a small team, and it’s nothing short of a miracle. Being able to rely on Amazon’s fulfilment capability has been invaluable. Majority has recently been awarded the Queen’s Award for International Trade, a prestigious award in the UK. Fulfilment By Amazon has been a huge benefit for us, and this award would have not been possible had we not joined Amazon’s European exporting initiatives. Amazon has made scaling the business very easy – 100% of our international sales over the years have by selling on their online stores.”
Hannah Saunders founder of Toddle Born Wild, the natural, vegan children’s skincare brand: “When I had my first son, I really wanted him to share my passion for the outdoors, but I found he got very bad windburn on our trips. I couldn’t find anything on the market to help, so I started to make my own balm at home. We officially launched Toddle Born Wild in March 2020 with a B2B model, however with the pandemic we pivoted to primarily serving customers directly through ecommerce. Amazon has been absolutely key to us succeeding as a business, particularly with physical retail taken away from us during pandemic restrictions.
“On average, 40% of our revenue has been through Amazon, and this has enabled us to recruit more people, to scale and grow. Our product lines now encompass a whole range of skincare products from our adventure balm to insect repellent. We have also started exporting through Amazon into the EU, and we are now about to launch on Amazon.com in the US. Amazon has made exporting so much easier, especially using the free VAT services through Amazon Launchpad. Being a part of Launchpad has given us access to an Account Manager who has been invaluable with helping us gain a greater understanding of how best to utilise Amazon and get the most from it.”