One-third of Australian small and medium business owners plan to expand internationally in the next two years, according to a new Global Empowerment study commissioned by Amazon Australia.

Many Australian SMBs have their sights set on North American customers with more than one in five already operating or hoping to expand to one of the world’s largest regions. Trans-Tasman business growth tops the list, with more than one in three businesses already operating in or planning to expand into New Zealand closer to home.

The study reveals business owners’ aspirations to increase revenue, expand their customer base and future proof their business. More than three in four SMBs with existing international footprints cited the impact of Covid as a factor encouraging them to consider global growth.

Almost one third of Australian SMBs with existing international footprints agreed that operating in other countries enabled them to navigate the challenges of Covid. Two-thirds of existing exporters recognised an increase in global sales over the past 18 months, and 77% cite the impact of Covid as a factor encouraging them to consider further international expansion.

While increase in revenue (49%) and expanding customer base (43%) are key motivators for SMBs to grow internationally, future proofing of the business (28%), and the personal sense of achievement (28%) also score highly.

Despite a clear desire to expand internationally, the study found that one quarter of SMBs admitted to feeling overwhelmed, and one in five unsure of where to begin. More than one in four Australian SMBs feel that they don’t have the right tools, support or knowledge to expand globally on their own.

Local businesses are hungry for support on cost effective solutions to handle shipping and fulfilment (28%), navigating local legal and compliance requirements (32%), international marketing support (30%), local taxation advice (34%) and mentorship (23%).

More local businesses are now harnessing Amazon’s hundreds of millions of worldwide active customer accounts, fulfilment services, and hundreds of seller tools, features and educational resources to support their international growth, according to Amazon Australia head of marketplace, Amit Mahto.

“With so much to think of when reaching overseas customers – from navigating local compliance requirements, product fulfilment, whilst building an understanding and marketing to a completely new audience – the small business seller faces many potential challenges,” he said.

“We aim to be a destination where local sellers harness the benefits of Amazon’s brand recognition, tools and features to help them list and manage products, and our fulfilment services around the world. We’re extremely proud and humbled by the diverse and ever-growing community of sellers building their businesses with our global stores.”