Majority of small businesses look toward overseas growth


New research from courier service Sendle reveals that 65 per cent of Australian small businesses are expecting a big portion of their revenue growth to come from overseas in the next 12 months, as high interest rates and inflation bite into their domestic operations. 

“As cost of living bites consumers at home, we’re seeing growing demand from small businesses to expand their reach in markets like the US,” Laura Hill, Managing Director of Sendle, Australia said. “The data shows that attracting new customers continues to be the top challenge for small businesses, so diversifying their customer base across different markets is a sound strategy to weather any economic downturn and future-proof their business in the longer term.”

Despite the challenging economic environment, 48 per cent of small businesses forecast growth of up to 25 per cent in FY25, compared to 23 per cent in 2024, which the report attributes to the opportunities for overseas growth as 80 per cent of small businesses have reported an increase in revenue growth from international markets in the past six months. 

Social media has been seen as a primary driver for small businesses looking to achieve growth in new markets, with 25 per cent planning to grow their social media presence and engagement. The report found that small businesses are more likely to invest in social media and marketing campaigns than they are to change their pricing strategy or negotiate with third-party suppliers for business growth.

When thinking about the upcoming peak sales season, 58 per cent of small businesses plan to offer free shipping this year. And with the favoured option of $100 AOV (average order value), some small businesses are looking for ways to make their business more green, as 24 per cent have said that sustainability is a high priority, while 82 per cent plan to roll out sustainable packaging in the next six months. 

As a means to save on shipping costs, the research found that 53 per cent of small businesses are using multiple couriers to get the best price. However, access to shipping services in and out of regional and rural areas continues to be a burden for small businesses, with 55 per cent wanting to see more e-commerce parcel delivery options/access to regional and rural Australia to help small businesses. In addition, small businesses are looking towards infrastructure sharing with lower-cost carriers (51 per cent), regulation to drive down prices (44 per cent) and improved competition (44 per cent) as means to improve the postal and parcel industry in Australia. The survey echoes findings from a 2024 survey of 600 retailers across rural and remote areas by Roy Morgan that found 61 per cent of retailers were of the view that “challenges and constraints with currently available delivery services to these areas was negatively impacting their business”.