Business broadband statistics

Is your business’s broadband lagging behind?

Being connected to the Internet is vital to businesses up and down the country, so having a fast connection is essential. If your business isn’t getting the best connection, it may be time to look for a new broadband plan.

Quick overview

  • 84% of UK businesses have access to the Internet.
  • 99% of businesses with 50+ employees have access to the Internet.
  • E-commerce sales have risen by 16% from 2016 to 2017, reaching £560 billion.
  • Wholesale, retail and manufacturing make up the three biggest e-commerce sectors.
  • Only 3.8% of UK businesses had speeds of 2Mbps or slower in 2017.
  • This is down from 10.8% in 2010.

How important is broadband to businesses?

E-commerce sales by the non-financial sector totalled £560 billion in 2017, £80 billion more than in 2016. Despite a dip in sales after 2013, total e-commerce sales have generally been trending upwards and are now at the highest ever total. Since data on micro-businesses (businesses with less than 10 employees) became available in 2014, we can see a significant development in sales, growing from £19 billion in 2014 to £26.5 billion just three years later.

Year Total e-commerce sales (0 to 9 employees) Total e-commerce sales (10 or more employees)
2009 N/A* £375.1bn
2010 N/A* £419bn
2011 N/A* £489bn
2012 N/A* £473.6bn
2013 N/A* £544.7bn
2014 £19bn £494.5bn
2015 £20.8bn £475.4bn
2016 £22.8bn £483.5bn
2017 £26.5bn £559.8bn
*Coverage of micro-enterprises (those with less than 10 employees) is only available from 2014

Which industries rely on the Internet the most?

Which industries are the biggest contributors to e-commerce sales? The top three industries are wholesale (£77.5 billion), retail (£45.6 billion) and manufacturing (£43.1 billion). See the graph and table below to find out which other sectors made the top nine.

Industry sector Value
Wholesale £77.5bn
Retail £45.6bn
Manufacturing £43.1bn
Transport and storage £37bn
Other £35.6bn
Information and communication £32.7bn
Accommodation and food £13.2bn
Utilities £12.9bn
Construction £2.5bn

What speeds are most businesses getting?

We looked at the latest statistics to see how business broadband speeds have changed since 2010 and what speeds most businesses are getting.

The most common connection speed category in 2017 was 30Mbps-100Mbps. This is compared to the most common speed category in 2010, which was 2Mbps-10Mbps, and it shows that more businesses than ever have access to faster broadband speeds.

The biggest change was in the number of businesses getting speeds of 2Mbps-10Mbps, a 30% reduction from 2010 to 2017. In 2017, nearly 45% of UK businesses were receiving speeds of 30Mbps or higher, up from under 10% in 2010. In fact, more than 16% of businesses now have speeds of 100Mbps or more.

Percentage of businesses achieving different speeds

Speed Percentage of businesses, 2010 Percentage of businesses, 2017 Change
Less than 2Mbps 10.8% 3.8% -7%
2Mbps or more and less than 10Mbps 46.7% 16.7% -30%
10Mbps or more and less than 30Mbps 21.2% 20.5% -0.7%
30Mbps or more and less than 100Mbps 5% 28.3% +23.3%
100Mbps or more 4.6% 16.1% +11.5%


Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK Communications Manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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