Google launches e-commerce Export Business Map to help UK businesses take advantage of £45bn opportunity


Google has launched the Export Business Map to help and inspire UK companies to expand overseas. The map identifies the 10 most exciting international markets, in terms of strategic value and operational readiness, for UK digital businesses.

Markets profiled include Germany, USA, France, Austria, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Canada. For each of these markets, information on internet penetration, web search and online purchasing behaviours is provided, along with other key demographic insights.

The Export Business Map is accompanied by new research from OC&C Strategy Consultants in collaboration with Google. It reveals that UK businesses in the travel, retail, leisure and content sectors, could benefit from a global e-commerce export market worth £45bn by 2020 – three times its current estimated value of £13bn.

The OC&C report, entitled “‘International eCommerce – The Future is Now”,  underlines the need for UK businesses to capitalise on this opportunity by embracing digital tools and adopting a global strategy. It also highlights examples of digital businesses which successfully launched to a global market. For instance, online payments firm PayPal went international within two years, and San Francisco-based Airbnb expanded internationally within a year and is now the world’s largest community-driven hospitality company.

Peter Fitzgerald, UK country sales director at Google, said: “The rules on international business have changed. The internet has removed boundaries, changing markets forever. This meansthat everyone from traditional businesses and established internet players, to bedroom start-ups, can take advantage of online tools and digital marketing to easily target new territories and engage with new customers. We hope the Google Export Business Map will help UK businesses to capitalise on the £45bn opportunity, inspiring them to think beyond their local markets and grow quickly and strategically.”

Anita Balchandani, partner and head of retail at OC&C Strategy Consultants, said: “Internationalisation used to be very capital intensive but eCommerce has meant that it is now quicker, simpler, more economical and therefore lower risk for companies to test out new markets. We estimate that international search traffic will quadruple by 2020, so there is a huge opportunity for UK companies who want to capitalise on international expansion online.”

MATCHESFASHION.COM is an example of a global luxury fashion retailer based in London, who has recognised and responded to its international potential. Ulric Jerome, Partner and COO of MATCHESFASHION.COM explains:

“We began life as a luxury bricks and mortar retailer, but soon recognised the potential to engage an international audience and grow globally by increasing our digital presence. Now we see ourselves as a technology company delivering the best luxury fashion experience possible, which is reflected in our decision to align all our platforms under one brand name, MATCHESFASHION.COM. We believe this creates a seamless experience at every touch point for our clients worldwide and this digital evolution has resulted in 70% of our online sales now coming from international markets.”