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UK online retailers more confident about international sales growth

A new survey has found that SME online retailers in the UK are becoming increasingly confident about growing their international sales.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

UK online retailers more confident about international sales growth

A new survey has found that SME online retailers in the UK are becoming increasingly confident about growing their international sales.

The annual tracker study by Royal Mail shows that 65% UK SME online retailers polled said they are aiming to increase international sales in 2015. This is up two thirds on a year ago when just 39% said they were planning to increase overseas sales in 2014.

The survey also reveals how UK SME online retailers are planning to target new international markets to support their growth. Some 84% of companies surveyed said they plan to target new countries they do not currently sell to.

SME online retailers were shown to be in positive mood for the year ahead with seven in ten businesses expecting overall sales to increase. The optimism for growth – which was up nine percentage points on last year - came despite 76% of SME online retailers saying competition is more intense than a year ago.

The USA was found to have overtaken Europe as the top target for online retailers looking for new international markets with 39% of SMEs saying they would be targeting the country. Meanwhile, 30% said they would target European countries.

The study found that Canada ranked third in new international target markets for UK online retailers. Despite the falling value of the rouble, 15% of SMEs said they would target Russia this year compared to only 9% last year.  

Meanwhile, 56% of UK SME exporters said they plan to invest in online search improvements to win new overseas business, up from 32% a year earlier. Some 47% of those polled said they would use targeted direct mail or catalogues, a rise of ten percentage points on 2014.

Nick Landon, managing director of Royal Mail Parcels, said: “Royal Mail’s annual tracker study of UK SME online retailers shows that there is growing confidence that they can grow international sales.

“There is a marked increase in the percentage of UK SME online retailers aiming to grow international sales in 2015, compared with 2014. The study found that UK SME online retailers believe there is strong potential in the USA, which has overtaken Europe as the top target for businesses looking for new international markets.”  

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