Aim of this survey

The E-commerce Survey measures the use of information and communication technology (ICT) and the value of electronic sales (e-commerce) made by UK businesses. The results of the survey provide comprehensive statistics in relation to businesses and their adoption of new technology and e-commerce.

The statistics are produced to be on an internationally comparable basis, allowing the UK to be compared with other countries.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) are an important UK user of the statistics, to monitor how businesses are engaging in the digital economy. There are a range of other uses of the statistics, including Eurostat and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The importance to the UK economy of business's engagement with e-commerce is reflected in the volume of total e-commerce sales (£511 billion in 2016) and the proportion of total business turnover that relates to e-commerce transactions (16%).

What you need to know

To complete the survey, you will need the following information:

  • the use of ICT in your business
  • access and use of the internet
  • web or electronic data interchange (EDI) sales

All information you provide is strictly confidential.

Survey information

Selection criteria: UK trading businesses registered for Value Added Tax (VAT) and/or Pay as You Earn (PAYE)

Population: approximately 2.2 million

Sample: approximately 11,000

Frequency: annual

Dispatch dates

Between 1 and 4 January

Return-by date

Between 5 and 8 February

Dispatch and return-by dates are a guide. They are subject to change due to national holidays and weekends.

Why you were selected

Your business has been selected from a directory of businesses in the UK that are registered for VAT and/or PAYE or with Companies House. Your response ensures we represent your industry.

The E-commerce Survey is conducted under the provisions of the Statistics of Trade Act 1947. Once selected, your business is legally obliged to comply. You cannot appeal your selection.

Why you have received this survey

We survey businesses of all sizes to ensure our statistics are representative of the UK economy. We select large businesses (those with 100 plus employees) for any relevant Office for National Statistics business surveys because their information is so significant. We select some small and medium businesses, usually for a set period of time, then replace them with other businesses from their industry. They are very important to us as their trading patterns are often very different to large businesses.

How to complete this survey

Your letter explains how to complete this survey online. Please use your unique enrolment code to report your information.

Complete this survey online

If you need help

If your question is not answered above, you may be able to find the answer in the About ONS business surveys section.

You can call us on 0300 1234 931. Please enter the three-digit survey ID 187.

From outside the UK: +44(0)1633 810495.

Er mwyn gwneud cais am ffurflen Gymraeg (to speak to someone in Welsh): 0300 1234 921.