For 26 per cent of small businesses, the cost and complexity of getting through customs is the main obstacle to exporting. However according to Royal Mail’s International Delivery Matters reports, many international orders from outside the EU fall below the minimum price threshold at which customs duties are chargeable.
Other reasons given by small business owners for avoiding exporting were a lack of knowledge of the market and language barriers.
But the research shows that those who are not selling overseas are missing out. Among the 40 per cent of business who sell internationally, just over a quarter of their sales this Christmas are expected to come from international orders.
A further look into the export aspirations of UK small business owners found that 10 per cent are currently selling to customers within the EU and would like to seek more opportunities to sell to non-EU customers. 15 per cent said they sell outside the EU and would like to seek even more opportunities to sell to non-EU customers.
While domestic online marketplaces are popular among small business looking to grow their UK customer base, only 25 per cent of small businesses look to international marketplaces to grow their sales potentially missing out of the huge sales potential they offer.
Jim Shaikh CEO of Yoomi, manufacturer of self-warming baby bottles said: “Expanding internationally was a no-brainer for us. The UK market for our product is very mature and we found that expanding abroad was the logical next step and the only clear way for us to achieve solid growth.”
Speaking about the findings of the research, Richard Alvin, Chairman of private equity firm Audere Capital said:” the British people decided to leave the EU and potentially close of a potentially lucrative and easy sales market but with export data like this UK PLC could fast become UK corner shop as it is essential that businesses look beyond our shores for growth and possibly survival.”