Business is booming for Australian small businesses selling overseas, with these exporters reporting almost 20 per cent more turnover than their domestic-centric counterparts.
The findings, featured in Australia Post's 'Small Business Exporting' insights paper, reveal that reaching into international markets can benefit small business with this group twice as likely to be planning for rapid expansion or to start a new business within the next 12 months. But with just 27 per cent of all small businesses currently selling to overseas customers, including just 11 per cent sending parcels, the paper highlights the enormous opportunities to be found in traditional and emerging international markets.
Australia Post's General Manager Segment Development & Marketing for Business and Government, Rebecca Burrows, said Australian small businesses should pay particular attention to Asian nations, where a growing middle class is embracing online shopping.
"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," said Ms Burrows.
"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 who aspire to sell overseas are starting to recognise 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," Ms Burrows said.
With the findings estimating that 60 per cent of small businesses currently selling online are yet to dip their toes into the international marketplace, Ms Burrows said there is huge potential for Australian brands to build a dedicated following.
"Small businesses doing well abroad use digital marketplaces and focus on niches to maximise 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 recognised 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," said Ms Burrows.
Source: Australia Post