Stansted crowned as leading UK e-commerce town

STANSTED has been crowned one of the UK’s most internet-friendly town.

The Google eTown Awards are designed to recognise those towns whose businesses are most actively embracing the web, and at a time when the internet is spurring economic growth Stansted has won fourth place.

Tech-savvy business owners in the area are taking advantage of the close proximity to London’s third busiest airport, with companies providing accommodation, food and leisure services leading the way in using the internet to attract travellers and airport employees.

According to the Boston Consulting Group, companies with an online presence grow at least four to eight times faster than those companies without.

To provide a snapshot of this vital economic activity, Google worked with Ipsos MORI to break the UK into its 12 regions and analysed the online strength of local businesses across 1,300 towns. Those towns with the highest scores in each region were awarded eTown status.

In Stansted one local beauty salon, Style Me Beautiful, saw interest from potential customers double after they began using the internet to market themselves.

Liz Willetts, who started the salon in 2011, said: “The internet has been really important for the way my business has grown.

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“I blog and use social media, but for me, online advertising through AdWords has been most effective. I’ve seen interest in the business double since I started advertising online.”

Uttlesford District Councillor Alan Dean, member for Stansted, said: “Businesses in Stansted are working together through a new, local forum to up their game and benefit from both the airport on their doorstep and from e-commerce. We recognise that good communications are the key to business success.

“An award like this is a welcome stimulus that will set our broadband buzzing.”

Sir Alan Haselhurst, Uttlesford’s MP, added: “I am sure that Stansted is proud of its Google eTown Award and I am delighted to represent a community that has truly embraced the internet to help their local businesses to flourish.

“The internet is going to play a key role in Stansted’s economic growth, helping local businesses and entrepreneurs thrive, and contributing overall to the wider British economy. I hope this award encourages other local businesses as superfast broadband becomes increasingly available to use the internet to grow.”

The Connected Kingdom report published by the Boston Consulting Group predicted that the internet’s contribution to GDP will increase from 7.2 per cent today to 10pc in 2015, meaning those businesses with an online presence will benefit most and contribute more to future UK economic growth.

Dan Cobley, managing director at Google UK, said: “The internet is going to contribute massively towards our future economic growth, and many businesses rely on the web to grow.

“These eTown Awards are designed to recognise and reward those areas leading the way forward in e-commerce and Stansted should be extremely proud to be on the UK’s top towns.”