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Australian SMEs “punching above their weight” against tough competition

Posted: 30 January 2019 11:14 am
News

Global competition is the biggest obstacle for growth for local businesses.

Australian SMEs are digitally savvy but see their overseas rivals as the leading barrier to growth, according to the inaugural State of Business Global Report published by cloud-based commerce platform TradeGecko today.

The report surveyed 573 commerce businesses from 24 different countries, including 129 Australian businesses, and found 80% reported that they maintained or grew their revenue in 2018, despite the challenges of competing in a global economy.

While emerging SMEs (those generating less than $1million in sales) used word of mouth to advertise their products, 74% also reported they used Facebook to generate buzz about their business, and 43% also used Instagram. Businesses generating more than US$5million in sales were more likely to use a wider range of marketing techniques, and relied more on Twitter (37%), YouTube (37%) and LinkedIn (36%) than their smaller peers when it came to promotion. Australian SMEs also preferred using Instagram (42%) and YouTube (31%) in terms of social media platforms, compared to US rivals.

Cameron Priest, Co-Founder and CEO of TradeGecko, believes Australian SMEs are making the most of the Internet and digital tools to market their business. "Small businesses are punching above their weight when it comes to competing in the global market against large firms with big teams and big budgets. That is certainly reflected in the findings for Australia. Social media and digital platforms are enabling SMEs to reach new audiences and to scale but the competition is tough. Technology can help to level the playing field," he said.

While almost 1 in 4 American businesses were using pen and paper to manage inventory, only 11% of Australian SMEs were doing so, with 22% using digital technology to handle their inventory and order management.

Yet, 51% of Australian SMEs still had concerns over productivity and a lack of time, and business owners reported they would like to devote more time to sales, marketing and product development. Australian businesses also reported product sourcing as their most time-consuming activity, spending an average of 53.6 hours per month compared to the 35.3 hours reported by American businesses.

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