eBay – e-commerce key to balance of trade

Small businesses that eBay refers to as ‘micro-multinationals’ are key to achieving Chancellor George Osborne’s target of £1 trillion of exports annually by 2020. In order to do this, tariffs need to be simplified, as does the entire export process.

93% of UK eBay sellers export overseas as against 28% of companies with no online presence. There are 200,000 UK eBay sellers who can significantly contribute to exports if they are given an easier ride according to the online marketplace. Between them they are experiencing growth in the region of 12%, a serious boost to an economy that is growing only gently at present.

Currently exports are sitting at around £515bn annually according to ONS data for 2015. eBay stated, “eBay’s study found that small digital businesses are keen to tap into global trade routes beyond the continent; as 52% see ‘lands of opportunity’ rather than risk in new markets. But businesses are currently avoiding an over-reliance on Europe as an exports hub; only one in three (32%) small digital firms consider Europe to be a key market.

“The top five most popular destinations for British exports via eBay are to the United States and Australia, followed by European countries like Germany, France and Italy.’

“The Index also found that an expansion of overseas trade features in 13% of small digital business’s 2016 strategies, with two thirds pinning growth targets on successful foreign sales.

Kit Glover, Director of Professional Selling & Cross Border Trade at eBay, commented: “More small online businesses are expanding into new markets with increasing vigor and we’re seeing growing numbers of micro-multinational businesses emerging. These are agile businesses capable of selling to a global audience, without the infrastructure of a traditional exporter.

“This creates a domino effect of job creation across different sectors, from manufacturing and services to procure more products, to logistics and delivery firms shipping more goods. This is good news for small business, and good news for Britain.”