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Most SME UK online retailers plan to boost international sales in 2014: study

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Most small and medium sized UK online retailers are looking to new markets to increase their sales over the coming year, a new study has found.

Royal Mail research found six out of 10 (59%) are looking to boost their international sales, while 68% will target new overseas markets.

The most popular targets were the US (26% of the 217 participants said they would be looking to sell in this market for the first time), Canada (20%), Germany and Russia (9%), Spain (7%) France and Australia (6%). However only 3% will be looking to Brazil.

Mark Thomson, managing director of Royal Mail International, said: “The USA and Canada – already strong export destinations – lead the way as the most popular targets for UK e-retailers planning to expand to new international markets in 2014. This shows established English speaking nations remain the strongest regions for potential growth.

“Growing links between Russia and the UK present improved export opportunities which see it placed as joint third most popular new exporting destination for UK online retailers, alongside Germany.

“Spain is fifth most popular target, ahead of its neighbour France which matches Australia, which has seen strong growth in recent years as a result of the emergence of online retailing, as a popular target market for online retailers. Despite much attention focussing on the opportunities in China, only four per cent of UK SME online retailers say they will target the country next year.”

Asked how they would put their plans into practice, four in 10 said they would improve their online search, 32% would develop a country-specific website for the market they are targeting, and 21% plan direct mail campaigns.

Royal Mail has developed a website with information, advice and case studies for those selling, or planning to sell, abroad.

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