Online businesses forced to look to overseas market for growth

The survey conducted by eBay has found that over a third expect BRICS countries to become more important in 2012 due to continued economic stagnation in Europe, with two thirds expecting the Eurozone crisis to directly result in a slump in export opportunities.

Over a quarter said that they recognise the need to look further afield to the CIVETS countries (Columbia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa) to expand their customer base, considered the main benefit of exporting by online businesses

In the last 12 months over half of online businesses have exported goods to Russia, and a fifth expect China to be the most important export market after Europe by 2013.

Online businesses have risen to the challenge set by Lord Green, Minister for Trade and Investment, to export for growth by embracing opportunities in emerging markets in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China) and CIVETS.

To help support the economic recovery, eBay is calling on policy-makers to do their part and improve the advice and support available for businesses looking to expand their sales overseas.

Angus McCarey, UK Retail Director, eBay, said: “In today’s connected world, businesses no longer need to rely on one market for their income.  International trade is more accessible than ever and online businesses in particular are perfectly placed to make the most of selling overseas.

“Cross-border trade represents a massive economic opportunity for the UK, and we know that over half of high exporting businesses are confident about the next six months compared to only two fifths of low exporting businesses.  Government and policymakers must do more to ensure services and organisations are equipped to provide expert advice on exporting to all businesses, but especially to those businesses that haven’t given it a go before and are often held back by a simple lack of understanding.”

eBay businessman Stuart Kirkwood, whose company Zest Clothing turned over more than £1million last year, saw export sales make up over 15% of his income in 2011.  Stuart and his wife Melinda now export to over 100 countries and consider Eastern Europe as a real area of growth.

Commenting on his businesses performance Kirkwood said: “Last year was a great year for our business, but there is no way we would have exceeded our £1million milestone had it not been for the income we received through our eBay export sales.  Selling overseas is a great way to expand your businesses customer base and exporting via eBay has allowed us to sell a higher volume of product without increasing our overheads.  The internet, the rise of mobile and the growing importance of social media means we are all globally connected consumers.  In the current economic climate UK businesses need to take advantage of every opportunity, and the global reach of eBay is an opportunity we intend to exploit.”

Paul Jones

Editor of Business Matters, the UKs largest business magazine

Editor of Business Matters, the UKs largest business magazine