PayPal: quarter of online UK businesses will boost Christmas sales by selling overseas

A quarter of British small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are expecting to boost their Christmas sales this year by taking advantage of international online demand for British goods, new research from PayPal has found.

The survey of 900 SMEs found while 81% of businesses sell to international markets, most of these (65%) said no more than a quarter of revenue currently comes from abroad. This means businesses still have significant scope to increase revenue this Christmas by expanding overseas online.

The findings follow independent research published by PayPal earlier this year, which revealed the UK is the second-most popular online shopping destination across five countries – China, US, Germany, Australia and Brazil. These buyers alone are set to generate over £10bn in demand for the UK during 2013 – presenting a significant opportunity for British retailers.

To help businesses take advantage of online export demand, PayPal is launching a new website, which is designed to help SMEs extend their sales globally.

Mark Brant, general manager for PayPal UK & Ireland Merchant Services, said: “Overseas online sales could be a big win for businesses this Christmas, providing access to new customers without the hassle of setting up physical shops overseas. However, breaking into new markets takes time and research, which often means it ends up bottom of the list for SME owners.

“Our new website is designed to be a ‘go to’ advice centre to provide a useful shortcut to selling internationally.”

Businesses can use the website as a source of free information that covers the practicalities and potential pitfalls of international online trade. This includes handling payments in different currencies; how to establish logistics, distribution processes and online security, as well as guidance on compliance with local regulations.

Aimed at entrepreneurs and small business owners, the website includes information to help boost sales through:

  • PayPal research to help weigh up the business case for international trade
  • Useful tips, step by step guides and checklists to trading overseas
  • Advice on driving international traffic to websites
  • Profiles of international customer tastes and behaviours to aid research into new markets
  • Success stories from other businesses to inspire SMEs to focus on overseas trade