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PayPal data reveals exports boom led by British SMEs

By Chris Dawson March 6, 2017 - 4:47 pm

New transaction data from PayPal reveals how small and medium-sized businesses benefited most from the record lows of the pound last year. While SMEs in the UK saw their international PayPal sales rise 10% year-on-year from January to June 2016, the rate of growth trebled to 34% year-on-year from July to December.

This it the first time that PayPal have released such figures, they saw an uplift in PayPal sales to online shoppers visiting from overseas, but the biggest impact was seen on small and medium-sized businesses. The amount international shoppers spent with UK SMEs rose 13% per transaction in the last six months of 2016.

“When the pound dropped and the buying power of international shoppers increased, we expected to see a surge in online exports. Of course lower prices played a major part in boosting international sales, but there were many other contributing factors. The small businesses that were best placed to benefit from the influx of international shoppers were the ones who had already adapted their online stores – for example by letting customers browse in their own language, and pay in their own currency.”
– Mark Brant, Managing Director at PayPal UK

PayPal’s data shows that tens of thousands of UK SMEs started to sell online to a new country between July and December 2016. The top 5 online export markets for British SMEs during that period were:

  1. US
  2. Germany
  3. Australia
  4. France
  5. Italy

Customers from all five of the top markets are typically attracted to new and exclusive products that are only available from the UK. Fashion and sports were the two categories of online business that experienced the highest growth. Overall, there was a 49% year-on-year increase in fashion and sports goods sold to international shoppers.

If you want some advice on cracking international markets, PayPal’s PassPort website helps business owners better understand and target international shoppers through country-specific guidance and global sales tools.

  • SAM
    9 months ago

    This is not a surprise, our own domestic market is saturated to death, we go out of our way to target overseas markets, so much so when we run a facebook awareness ad we dont even include the UK anymore.
    Our domestic market is dominated by US Corporations like Amazon and eBay who in turn mainly due to SMES (it is our own fault) become the shop window for UK Corporations like Argos. It is a battle to the bottom now, so SMES have been forced to look overseas more.

    I do think the price of the pound has been played on a bit too now, it is costing more to get stock in and the benefits were always going to be short lived. We had a fair uplift for a period
    Something like 80% of our own website sales are now overseas. Our most successful marketplace is now based overseas. UK market has just become low margin churn.

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