Only one in ten SMEs have invested in new tech in the last 12 months, despite three quarters considering the investment important, according to a new report.
The Collaborate UK findings conducted by Censuswide, on behalf of CitySprint surveyed over 1,000 SME decision makers.
In addition, a quarter of SMEs spent less than 10 per cent of their budget on new technology, compared to over half who have spent between 11-30 per cent.
“Business owners know that innovation drives growth, but testing and adopting the latest tech is expensive and time consuming, and without more support small businesses struggle to keep up with technologies that can help them stay ahead,” said Patrick Gallagher, CEO of CitySprint.
“Whilst further support is crucial, it’s understandable that some SMEs don’t want to go it alone, particularly during a period of economic uncertainty.”
The study found 34 per cent of SMEs would be more likely to adopt new tech in the future if there was increased government support or bursaries available, while 27 percent of businesses said they would like to see more information available on what would work for their specific business.
Gallagher added: “We welcomed the launch of the Government’s Business Basics Programme last year, which includes a recently announced £2 million grant to encourage SMEs to introduce proven technologies.
“Small business owners need to seek out these types of grants and shouldn’t be afraid to ask for support in order to reach their innovation goals.
“What this research ultimately shows is that if SMEs aren’t able to keep up with the latest tech then the UK’s well-earned reputation as a hotbed for innovation could be impacted.”
The study showed the most common barriers for SMEs with investing in technology were a lack of budget (38 per cent), concerns about security (26 per cent) and that staff would have to be trained to use it (24 per cent).
18 per cent would be more likely to adopt new tech such as AI, blockchain or automation if they worked with other businesses of a similar size increased their chances of success.