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eBay Report Says Its Small Merchants Are Big Exporters

eBay said 97% of its small business sellers in the US sell outside of the country, and 64% of them sell to four or more continents. Can you guess the top five destinations for exports from US eBay sellers? The answer is Canada, Australia, UK, Russia, and Germany.

While small retailers are facing some big challenges, eBay said in a new report that they’re also finding big opportunities in global marketplaces like its own. eBay used data compiled over a recent 4-year period to make its case.

Brian Bieron, Executive Director of eBay Public Policy, said platforms like eBay are leveling the playing field, allowing small businesses to open with minimal start-up costs and compete head to head with the massive global players that have dominated global commerce over the past two decades.

How big is the market for today’s Internet-enabled small businesses?

Bieron said eBay examined trading data from 2010-2014 in 10 countries that covered the activity of sellers with sales of more than $10,000 annually on the eBay marketplace, referring to them as “eBay Small Business (SMB) Sellers.”

The following chart shows the number of SMB sellers who exported goods in 2014 by country, alongside the number of SMB sellers who exported to 10 or more foreign markets.

In the U.S., Brazil, Italy and India, the average annual growth rate of the sales of “established commercial sellers” is much higher than offline economic growth over that same period.

In the case of the US, eBay said Established Commercial Sellers saw 20% average annual growth in online sales compared to 4% average annual GDP growth.

The reason for publishing the data? eBay included policy recommendations for regulators around the world that would help small businesses (and eBay), such as Expand access to the Internet; Increase customs import duty exemption thresholds; and Eliminate duties on cross-border returns.

You can view the full report in PDF on the eBay website.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.