Royal Mail research finds that 60% of UK small businesses do not ship abroad

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Left: Parcelforce is the international courier division of Royal Mail

New research released by Royal Mail on September 5 has found that 60% of small UK businesses are not exporting abroad, potentially missing out on millions of pounds in lost revenue.

For 26% of small businesses, the cost and complexity of getting through customs is the main obstacle to exporting. Other reasons given by small business owners for avoiding exporting were a lack of knowledge of the market (21%) and language barriers (21%). But the research shows that those who are not selling overseas are missing out. For businesses that sell internationally, just over a quarter of their sales at Christmas (26%) are expected to come from international orders.

The study of 300 senior decision makers and small business owners was conducted by Royal Mail to assess small business owners’ attitudes to international growth. It also found that 35% of small businesses believe Europe holds the most potential to generate new sales for their businesses. Looking further afield, 28% believe the USA and North America hold the most potential.

To support UK businesses looking to expand internationally, Royal Mail has expanded its Tracked and Signature services to 14 new countries; it will also be increasing the compensation it offers customers using its International Tracked products from £50 (US$67) to £100 (US$133). The increase will apply to items posted from October 10, 2016.

The survey also found that although domestic online marketplaces are popular among small business looking to grow their UK customer base, only 25% of small businesses look to international marketplaces to grow their sales.

Roger Morris, head of Royal Mail Parcels, said, “Getting started as an exporter can be daunting. We have taken significant steps to help businesses looking to start exporting, from in-depth research into international markets, to enhancements to our international products. We believe that international is just another postcode. We work with businesses to establish reliable, value-for-money services.”

September 6, 2016

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Helen has worked for UKi Media & Events for nearly a decade. She joined the company as assistant editor on Passenger Terminal World and since progressed to become editor of five publications, covering everything from aviation, logistics and e-commerce to meteorology. She has a love for travel and property and has redeveloped three houses in three years. When she’s not editing magazines, she’s running around after her two boys and their partner in crime, Pete the pug.

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