UK SMBs are planning to invest more than £37bn in CapEx spend over the coming 12 months, including a significant chunk upgrading their IT hardware and software.
This is a 12 per cent drop on the peak £42.1bn CapEx spend by UK SMBs in 2011, according to the latest figures from GE Capital.
The market watcher questioned 1,750 European business leaders (250 of which are UK based) to provide an ongoing view of investment intentions across European SMBs.
Breaking down the IT specific figures, UK SMBs are planning to invest a total of £10.6bn in replacing IT hardware and software, and £4.2bn replacing office equipment in the next 12 month.
A significant 75 per cent of businesses are planning to invest in IT, with hardware being the most pressing area.
UK SMBs are planning to spend an average of £5,605 each on IT hardware and £4,928 on software in the coming 12 months, with micro businesses (two to nine employees) planning to spend 53 per cent of their overall CapEx investment.
This is compared with 18 per cent of small businesses (10-49 employees) and 16 per cent of medium-sized businesses (50-249 employees), GE Capital said.
In total 48 per cent of those UK SMBs questioned said the uncertain economic environment has restricted their ability to invest, and one in five (21 per cent) said a lack of available financing is restricting investment.
John Jenkins, chief executive of GE Capital UK, said: “The reality is that SMEs are still investing to gain a competitive advantage and showing resilience in the face of strong economic headwinds.
“Those companies that continue to invest and take advantage of the latest technology are likely to gain share and grow quickest when the market fully returns,” he said.
And looking at the wider picture of CapEx spend, the UK is less likely to invest than its European counterparts, with German SMBs intending to invest £95.8bn – more than double the UK figure. Italian SMBs are planning to invest £66.7bn over the coming 12 months, and French SMBs are set to spend £41.7bn.
In total, the amount of intended CapEx spend across the four major European economies amounts to £241bn, down by 39 per cent when compared with investment intentions six months ago.
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