Female entrepreneurs thriving in online seller community

Online sellers are much more likely to be mothers with children operating out of their homes and are mostly located outside major cities

86% of online sellers in the UK are women, according to global marketplace Etsy’s UK Seller Census of 150,000 micro-businesses.

This is in stark contrast to the national picture, where just 20% of small business owners are women and 57% of independent professionals are female. The report suggests that many women use online selling as a way to combine their entrepreneurial ambitions with motherhood, with 46% of respondents claiming to be mothers with children at home.

Online selling also seems to draw a younger crowd, with the median age of an online seller (38) almost 10 years younger than business owners across the country (47). 67% of those surveyed were under 45 and 84% were a business of one.

36% of respondents said online selling is their only occupation, while 65% considered their shop a business and 62% were part of the independent workforce – 94% operate out of their own homes. Of those who said they focus on their online shop full-time, 44% pay for help and 13% use external manufacturers.

78% of those surveyed were international exporters, while 88% of those whose online shop was their sole business shipped internationally.

Respondents tended to be located outside of major cities, with 38% operating from a suburban town, 32% running their business from a rural area and just 30% located in urban centres.

When asked why they started selling online, the majority did so as a creative outlet (63%), while 54% wanted to do something they enjoy in their spare time, 47% started up after facing a financial challenge and 42% wanted to improve their flexibility.

While 82% of online sellers expressed a desire to grow, 60% said they would not want to grow so big that they would need to hire more help.

 

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