LONDON: Online businesses in the UK are growing more than 50 times faster than the wider economy, and see mobile as a vital component of future growth, a new study has found.

The Barclays Online Business Outlook 2013 report said that over the past three years online businesses had achieved an 11.4% compound annual growth rate, while the UK economy had expanded just 0.2%.

"Online businesses have bucked the trend over the last three years and experienced success in spite of the stagnant economic conditions," said Sean Duffy, Managing Director and Head of Technology, Media and Telecoms at Barclays.

"The next challenge for companies operating online is sustaining this level of growth and ensuring that they take advantage of new and rising trends," he added.

In particular, he advised being mobile-ready, especially as use of 4G networks becomes the norm.

"Businesses that fail to move with the times risk losing out on valuable ecommerce opportunities," he stated.

But even though 64% of survey respondents thought that a mobile strategy would be an important factor in their 2013 business success, fully 60% had yet to devise and implement such a strategy.

Furthermore, 89% of online businesses had not even developed their website for mobile devices.

Duffy emphasised the importance of such steps. "Online businesses that have already invested in the mobile side of their business through the development of mobile-ready websites or apps are already seeing a significant proportion of their business coming from mobile devices," he said.

The research indicated that mobile-ready online businesses generated more than a quarter of their revenue from mobile last year, amounting on average to £2.5m via this channel.

"Online business is already booming and with the number of mobile consumers only set to rise, our view is that it will continue to do so," declared Duffy.

Data sourced from Barclays; additional content by Warc staff