eBay calls for Britain's SME exporters to have a voice in future trade deals

Press Release

London, UK: Thursday, 29 August 2019

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:

  1. United States
  2. Germany
  3. France
  4. Italy
  5. Ireland
  6. Australia
  7. Spain
  8. Sweden
  9. Norway
  10. Netherlands 

Top five product categories exported globally from UK SMEs via eBay are: 

  1. Mobile and smartphones
  2. Wristwatches
  3. Laptops and netbooks
  4. Music records
  5. Trainers 

- ENDS -

Notes to editors: 

Data included relates to products sold via eBay in the UK and exported internationally from small and medium-sized business sellers. The data covers the five-year period between August 2014 and July 2019, each year relates to the period August-July inclusive. 

About eBay: 

eBay was the first online marketplace. Today, it’s a household name. A regular feature in lists of best loved brands, it connects millions of buyers and sellers, helping customers to find the item they’re looking for from its 1.3 billion listings. With 182 million buyers in 190 markets, trade is fast. The UK website sells a car part every second, and last year the online marketplace saw must-have items like LEGO Harry Potter flying off the virtual shelves every ten seconds. 

This incredible interest directly benefits the small businesses who trade on eBay, giving them access to an audience once unthinkable for a small shop on the high street. Throughout its history, eBay has helped many thousands of small businesses to succeed. Small British firms regularly rank in the top five grossing sellers on’s biggest trading days like Black Friday, and over one thousand British sellers who started with a shop on eBay are now running million-pound businesses, providing jobs to people in their communities. 

By partnering with sellers in this way, has helped hundreds of thousands of British entrepreneurs over its 23-year history. As a hub of retail in the UK, the marketplace also continues to welcome top brands to the site – including Currys, Halfords, GoPro, Canon and more. 

eBay also makes it easy for customers to give to charitable organisations. Using eBay for Charity, sellers can donate a portion of their sales and buyers can shop while supporting their favourite causes – adding to the funds that has raised for UK charities to date. 

Did you know? 

eBay has 182 million active buyers around the world. 

In the UK, eBay serves 26m Brits a month. 

Social media: