Overseas markets create 20% boom for SMEs, says Australia Post

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Business is booming for Australian small businesses selling overseas, with exporters reporting almost 20% more turnover than their domestic-centric counterparts according to Australia Post’s new Small Business Exporting insights paper.

The findings reveal that reaching into international markets can benefit small businesses, with this group twice as likely to be planning for rapid expansion or to start a new business within the next 12 months.

Only 27% of all small businesses are currently selling to overseas customers, including just 11% sending parcels. The paper highlights the opportunities to be found in traditional and emerging international markets.

Rebecca Burrow, general manager for segment development and marketing for business and government at Australia Post, said, “It is estimated that there are more than 3.5 billion people across the globe who fit the middle-class profile, and this number is expected to grow by 160 million every year until 2021. In China especially, these consumers are highly receptive to Australian goods – so it is worthwhile for Australia’s small businesses to seek a slice of this international pie.

“China continues to open up to trade and is rapidly increasing its level of imports. Indonesia, one of the 10 fast-growing ASEAN countries, is right on our doorstep and will soon be the fourth biggest economy in the world. By 2030, four of the five biggest economies in the world will be in our region in Asia.

“It is encouraging to see that small businesses that aspire to sell overseas are starting to recognize the value to be found in non-English-speaking markets. In fact, this group is five times more likely to consider selling into China than anyone else.”

Data from the paper also found that 46% of exports from Australian small businesses go to the USA, 42% goes to New Zealand, and 38% to the UK. The most popular purchase is women’s apparel at 24%, with computer software and computer equipment placing second with 19%.

Burrows added, “Small businesses doing well abroad use digital marketplaces and focus on niches to maximize cost-effectiveness, and to do that they are also more likely to use professional services -— like translators — to connect to their target market and get better bang for their buck. The research found that successful small businesses are actually twice as likely to use marketplaces to reach online customers.

“Australia Post has recognized the importance of these marketplaces and has some exciting partnerships that can help, such as with the TMall marketplace with Alibaba and a new partnership with Lazada – making it easier to reach hundreds of millions of customers.”

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Kirstie joined the team in early 2017 and brings writing, communications and client experience with her. Now an assistant editor, she produces content for our magazines and websites. Away from the office, you will find her blogging on her lifestyle website or searching the internet for photos of sausage dogs.

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