UK online retailers confident for international sales growth

Confidence is growing among UK online retailers that they can grow their international sales, according to a new study. 

According to the annual tracker study by Royal Mail two thirds (65%) of UK SME retailers are aiming to increase international sales in 2015. This is up two thirds on a year ago when just four in ten (39%) said they were planning to increase overseas sales in 2014.

The study also revealed how online retailers will be targeting new international markets to support their growth. Eight in ten (84%) of companies surveyed said they plan to target new countries they do not currently sell to.

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UK SME online retailers were revealed in a positive mood for the year ahead with seven in ten businesses expecting overall sales to increase.

The optimism for growth – which is up nine percentage points on last year – is despite 76% of SME online retailers claiming 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 four in ten saying they would be targeting the USA – up 23% from a year ago. Meanwhile 30% said they would be targeting European countries.

Over half (56%) of UK SME exporters said that they plan to invest in online search improvements to win over new overseas business, up 32%, while 47% said they would use targeted direct mail or catalogues.

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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