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eBay UK Boss: Brexit as an opportunity for 200k SMEs
Brexit, in one form or another, is coming and we will likely leave the EU with or without a transition deal and with or without a longer term trading agreement by April 2019. There may be an extension but that would appear unlikely given all remaining EU countries would have to agree.
With the deadline approaching and just 6 quarters away, what do you think the impact of Brexit on your business will be? There are some immediate obvious implications due to the value of the pound making imports more expensive but exports more attractive to overseas buyers and it’s likely that longer term regulations and compliance (especially for electrical products etc) could be an issue.
The biggest single impact could be tariffs if there is no long term or interim trading agreement before Brexit. This would likely make UK goods more expensive to the EU and vice versa, but could actually make imports from outside the EU cheaper depending on WTO tariffs and where you’re importing from.
Exports up since Brexit referendum
eBay UK VP, Rob Hattrell views Brexit as an opportunity for eBay’s 200,000 professional sellers pointing out in a Sky News interview that the marketplace saw a growth of export products from the UK from the moment Brexit was announced.
Rob explained that the SMEs trading on eBay are very agile and able to redevelop and reconfigure and respond to macro-economic challenges and do it with enormous speed and that is absolutely essential to survive when you’ve got a customer population which is changing how it shops on a constant basis.
There may be little clarity around Brexit thus far, but because of the inbuilt flexibility and agility that SME eBay sellers already have, Rob views Brexit as an opportunity rather than a hurdle.
How do you think Brexit will impact you – Are you ready to embrace change or are you worried about the ramifications?
We currently manufacture premium products within the UK. Although we have seen an increase in some of our raw material import costs, we have been able to absorb most of the costs coupled with applying small increases to our prices. In our case if we were to see further increases in raw material import costs the negative impact to our business would be a a further increase to our prices. The positive for us is that due to the weaker pound we have seen a substantial increase in our turnover and profit, due to a jump in export orders. I personally believe that the gains will out weigh the costs for company’s with a unique IP, quality and innovative products. On the other hand, we buy in products from Europe that have no unique IP or feature and due to increased prices their sales have been hit due to cheaper comparable products that are available.
We did take advantage of EU markets this year (just not via ebay) we cancelled all the eBay sites , and signed up for multiple EU markets which have really improved margins for us, (we need more ad’s on what is available out there, and less eBay and Amazon stories).
It has allowed us to shift so much of the focus away from Amazon and eBay, as many markets offer better fees and support (they actually want your business). It is a genuine worry about what will happen with Brexit, as I think this Government will concentrate on the larger companies .
We are fortunate in a way as we will still have access via the Ireland but hopefully common sense will prevail.
“Rob explained that the SMEs trading on eBay are very agile and able to redevelop and reconfigure and respond to macro-economic challenges and do it with enormous speed and that is absolutely essential to survive when you’ve got a customer population which is changing how it shops on a constant basis.”
well they used to be, now they spend 35 hours a week trying to keep up without whatever nonsense ebay announced last month, and have no time to respond to any hurdles except the ones ebay provide constantly.
some people are truly dumb and delusional. The UK is temporarily exporting more because the value of the pound is lower and the cost of exporting is still the same. For now…once out of EU, it will be higher and EU people will have to pay duties. Who will buy from UK, your friends and granny?