Trading internationally through online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay have assisted in
the UK’s export growth since 2016. More than half of UK online sellers have reported they have experienced continued growth since 2016 when revenue growth of 20 per cent or more was seen. Almost one in ten small businesses also saw their total revenues from exports increase by more than £500,000. Two in five of all businesses that sell online are reported to be trading internationally and a quarter of these businesses do so through online marketplaces. This growing group have the potential to power the UK’s economy and trading relationship with the rest of the world. The EU is the most
popular trading destination for online sellers, with 86 per cent of businesses trading with the bloc,
followed by the United States.
This growth is being supported by the use of online marketplaces which are helping small businesses
target new customers in new international markets whilst enabling them to compete with both
bigger and local businesses. Platforms such as eBay, Amazon, Etsy and more are used by a quarter of
businesses selling online, with surveys also finding that one in five of all small businesses in Britain
intend to expand their presence on these marketplaces in the coming years.
The findings also suggest that sellers are planning to raise employment levels moving forward, with
over two in five planning to hire more staff. The burgeoning e-commerce market is therefore set to
continue expanding, not only by total sales values and turnover, but also in terms of employment
numbers, positively impacting the UK economy.
However, despite growth opportunities on offer, online sellers face a number of challenges that
need to be addressed to support their growth – especially when selling internationally.
For example, more than one in five small businesses cite difficulties with logistics and shipping as the
main barriers to selling internationally online, whilst 17 per cent highlighted the risk associated with
doing business across multiple currencies as a significant issue affecting their bottom line.
Indigo FX CEO Kirpal Ubhoo recently stated;
” Political uncertainty has weighed heavily on the British pound since the UK voted to leave the EU and has seen many UK businesses suffer as a direct result. At Indigo FX we aim to assist businesses during these tough times and create bespoke hedging strategies to ensure they are well protected”.
Marketplaces can be a relatively low-risk gateway to the world and these businesses are benefiting from this access to target new customers in new markets – and they’re reshaping UK exporting in the process. Indigo FX has an array of solutions designed to facilitate this trade and help this new wave of mini-multinationals to grow. These ambitious businesses need access to services that reflect their new, international business models, in particular making it easier for them to manage multiple currencies and handle cross-border transactions.
While Brexit continues to bring uncertainty, the devaluation of the pound has meant UK sellers have
never been more competitive. Whether you are selling sportswear to China or IT equipment to
Germany, there has never been a better time for entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into reality.