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UK’s SME online retailers more confident on international trade

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Two-thirds of smaller UK online retailers aim to increase their international sales this year, according to a new study.

The vote of confidence from 65% of the 300 small and medium-sized retailers who took part in the Royal Mail’s annual tracker study into the expectations and challenges facing such businesses, suggests a marked improvement in feeling. A year ago, 39% told the same study that they were planning to boost their overseas sales in 2014.

Such is the confidence that 84% of companies questioned said they planned to target new countries where they did not already sell, with the US the top target for 39% of traders. The growth of the US economy may be responsible for that country overtaking Europe, named by 30% of retailers, as the preferred target market. Russia was also named by 15% of retailers, up from 9% a year ago, despite the falling value of the rouble.

Meanwhile, seven in 10 said they expected to see sales increase this year, nine percentage points ahead of last year. The upturn in feeling comes despite 76% saying competition was more intense than it was a year ago.

Nick Landon, managing director of Royal Mail Parcels , said: “There is a marked increase in the percentage of UK SME online retailers aiming to grow international sales in 2015, compared with 2014. The study found that UK SME online retailers believe there is strong potential in the USA, which has overtaken Europe as the top target for businesses looking for new international markets.”

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