The overwhelming majority of small to mid-size U.S. companies say their international sales revenues increased over the past year and are expecting significant growth in international markets, but worry a particularly contentious U.S. presidential election and its outcome could impact future plans.
According to the 2016 American Express Grow Global survey, eight in ten companies report increased overall revenues compared with the same period a year ago and more than a quarter (26%) of that revenue on average is directly linked to international sales. Ninety percent of the 500 companies surveyed agree international markets offer considerable growth opportunities and 39% are planning to increase international operations in the next six months.
“Our research shows that despite potential challenges, many companies still see international business as an important growth opportunity,” said Ed Marsh, export adviser to American Express.
But a considerable majority (70%) say the impact of the presidential election would at least be “somewhat significant” on plans for international trade in the future.
While companies are keeping a close eye on this week’s election, under a third (30%) say they are being cautious because of changing economic and political landscapes overseas.
But 31% of companies say global economics have already had an impact on future plans.They are also concerned about the ability to build relationships with foreign partners (75%), complying with local and international law and trade regulations (73%), and transportation and shipping costs (also 73%).
North America remains the focus of these companies’ international sales efforts, with 43% of companies saying their international sales operations are mostly concentrated in Mexico or Canada.
The 2016 American Express Grow Global Survey polled decision makers from business development, sales strategy, and marketing departments. The survey was conducted in August.