eBay wants a say in the UK’s Brexit trade negotiations, and is using its position as a platform for small sellers in its lobbying efforts.
The UK is planning to break away from the European Union on October 31, 2019 (“Brexit”), and once it does, it must have trade deals in place with other countries.
Last week, eBay, which relies heavily on cross-border trade, released a press release calling for the UK’s small- and medium-sized exporters to have a say in trade negotiations. eBay cited some data and quoted sellers, one of whom said that exporting to other EU members was currently “easy and affordable” but noted that could change under Brexit.
Press release follows:
eBay has today released new data highlighting the contribution of UK small and medium sized businesses to UK exports, and is calling for their voices to be heard in future trade negotiations.
The data, which is drawn from the 200,000 UK-based SMEs trading on eBay, shows that in the past 12 months, almost two thirds (64%) of eBay’s UK-based sellers have exported products internationally – and export sales have grown more than 25% in the past five years.
The top three export markets for UK SME sellers on eBay – who are connected to millions of buyers in more than 190 countries – are the USA, Germany and France, while Ireland, Italy and Australia also make it into the Top 10 in terms of money spent.
The products generating the highest spend globally are mobile phones, watches and laptops – although the top products differ considerably in the top three markets. Electric hair removal devices take the top spot in UK exports to the USA, Dyson cordless vacuum cleaners are the number one item in exports to France, and exports to Germany are dominated by digital cameras.
Some of the more unique popular UK products exported internationally from the UK include weed killer to France, Warhammer games to Australia, and CDs, DVDs and Blu-Rays to the Philippines, which is the country that has seen the biggest growth in export sales from eBay UK in the past 12 months, with exports growing at over 20% year on year.
eBay is publishing the data to highlight the contribution Britain’s hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs make to the UK export market – and to make sure that this emerging story of SME-driven international trade is fully understood by policymakers and trade negotiators.
With Brexit scheduled for 31 October, eBay is calling for the voices of these entrepreneurial exporters to be heard in debates over future trade deals and for small business to be fully represented in any post-Brexit trade delegations.
Commenting on the data, Rob Hattrell, Vice President, eBay UK, said: “The debate about business in Britain has often ignored the contribution of UK small businesses to international trade. When it comes to the big issues like Brexit, trade deals, and Britain’s economic future, small businesses, which are the lifeblood of the economy, should have a far greater voice.
“The reason we’re publishing this data is to show there are small businesses up and down the UK working hard, day in day out, to grow and build their businesses. Through eBay, many have become international exporters for the first time and been able to access new markets. It’s high time the voices of these entrepreneurs are heard.”
Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss, said: “SMEs are a great driver of the UK’s export success, and this data shows that. It’s more important than ever for British firms to take advantage of the global appetite for quality British products to grow their businesses and create jobs for their local communities.
“We will continue to support our SMEs to trade around the world now and after we leave the EU on 31 October and sign new trade deals with our international partners.”
eBay seller Jade Oliver, Founder of Heavenly Homes & Gardens, added: “I run an interiors boutique and a large proportion of our sales are international, with the majority going to Europe, so understanding what exporting could look like in future is important to me.
“Brexit has brought a lot of uncertainty. At the moment exporting within Europe is easy and affordable but we don’t yet have detail on how that could change in the future.
“Right now it feels as though small businesses aren’t involved in the decisions that are taking place. I would like to see the collective voice of small businesses be better heard in the debate over what might happen next.”
Top ten SME export markets in terms of money spent are:
Top five product categories exported globally from UK SMEs via eBay are:
Mobile and smartphones
Laptops and netbooks
SOURCE: eBay Press Release