UK small businesses take advantage of low pound to drive export boom

The US, Germany and Australia were the biggest online export markets, with fashion and sports goods seeing the biggest sales growth

The UK’s small and medium-sized businesses took advantage of a record low pound in 2016 to treble their export sales in the second half of the year, according to research from PayPal.

UK businesses saw their international PayPal sales rise by 10% year-on-year between January and June 2016 before they jumped to 34% year-on-year from July to December.

UK businesses as a whole witnessed an increase in online sales to overseas customers, while UK small and medium companies saw a 13% rise in the amount spent per transaction in the second half of the year.

During that period, the US was the UK’s top export market, followed by Germany, Australia, France and Italy, with customers in these countries most attracted to new and UK exclusive products.

Fashion and sports represented the biggest growth markets, where goods saw a 49% year-on-year increase in sales to international shoppers.

Mark Brant, managing director at PayPal UK, commented: “When the pound dropped and the buying power of international shoppers increased, we expected to see a surge in online exports.

“Of course lower prices played a major part in boosting international sales, but there were many other contributing factors. The small businesses that were best placed to benefit from the influx of international shoppers were the ones who had already adapted their online stores – for example by letting customers browse in their own language, and pay in their own currency.”

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