Small businesses across the UK are using the internet to help them survive the recession, according to research from Easynet Connect.

The business internet service provider found that 45 per cent of small firms think the internet will be a key tool to lead them through the difficult times.

Furthermore, one in five believes the web will the most important instrument at their disposal as the economy continues to decline.

According to Easynet Connect, the ability to use the internet to advertise and keep in touch with consumers is the crucial difference between this recession and that of the early 1990s.

It found that 74 per cent of small firms are planning to use the web to boost their company profile through internet marketing campaigns.

Chris Stening, managing director of Easynet Connect, said: "The internet has meant that businesses are much better equipped this time around."

Indeed, he pointed out that in the early 1990s, businesses were "a world away" from e-commerce and internet marketing.

The latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index shows that consumers spent 13 per cent more on the internet in February than they did during the same month last year.

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