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June 15, 2020

SMEs shift online as ‘new normal’ takes hold across UK: Hitachi

By Alejandro Gonzalez

Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus in the UK – one in seven small business owners has said they are transitioning more of their business activity to operate online, according to Hitachi Capital Business Finance.

Hitachi’s ‘business barometer’ research showed that the percentage of small businesses that are offering services online has increased by more than 50% since the nationwide lockdown began.

Retail (43%), IT & Telecoms (40%) and media (40%) were the sectors that were most prepared to set up for online operations before the pandemic struck. Education (29%), health (22%) and finance and accounting (21%) were the sectors where small business owners transitioned their ventures online most urgently, according to the research.

The East of England (33%) and Scotland (29%) have the highest proportion of small businesses that currently operate online, which in part may be linked to their more rural location.

Hitachi said its research was conducted by YouGov among a representative sample of 1,266 small business decision-makers in April 2020 spanning various industry sectors.

Hitachi Capital (UK) Plc

Hitachi offers point-of-sale retail finance, personal loans and support to UK businesses including asset finance and vehicle finance. The company has over £5bn in assets.

Hitachi Capital (UK) Plc is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hitachi Capital Corporation, one of Japan’s largest non-bank financial institutions and an affiliate of both Hitachi Ltd and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc.

Hitachi Capital Business Finance is a division of Hitachi Capital (UK) Plc and provides business asset finance to SMEs and bigger corporations across the UK. The division says it has an asset portfolio of more than £1.3bn. The business is active across multiple sectors such as transport, agriculture, construction, manufacturing, materials handling and financial services providers.

Business finance products including hire purchase, finance lease solutions, stocking and block discounting are provided through brokers, vendor organisations, manufacturers and direct to the business community, according to the company website.

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