FINDINGS of the DHL Export Barometer 2019 reveal that 69% of Australian exporters are confident the coming 12 months will bring an increase in overseas orders for their business. Furthermore, 56% of exporters reported an increase in actual orders in the past 12 months, mirroring figures from 2017.
Overall, the report found Australian exporters remain positive amid the current global trade climate, pivoting growth strategies to leverage e-commerce opportunities and focusing efforts on select overseas markets.
Gary Edstein, CEO and senior vice president for DHL Express Oceania, said, “Although this year’s level of exporter confidence marks a decline on last year’s record peak of 75% – the highest level recorded since the study began in 2003 – Australian exporter confidence retains its headway at 69% and marks a fifth consecutive year above the longterm average”.
Businesses exporting predominately consumer goods registered the highest confidence level at 75%, while agriculture (71%) and services (70%) followed close behind. Mining sector confidence experienced an upturn, with confidence growing to 65% from 50% in 2018. Meanwhile, the outlook for exporters in the manufacturing sector dropped 9% to sit at 63% this year.
Small office/home office-sized businesses were most confident (73%), along with small businesses (71%). Continuing the trend of previous years, larger and more experienced exporters were the least confident – 52% of large businesses and 57% of businesses exporting for more than 20 years recorded the lowest levels of assurance in global exports.
At a state and territory level, exporters based in New South Wales/the Australian Capital Territory (69%) and Victoria (65%) recorded a decline in confidence, while South Australia/the Northern Territory (75%), Western Australia (72%), and Queensland (71%) all showed increases this year.
New Zealand and North America remain top destinations as exporters narrow focus New Zealand retains the top spot as the most popular destination for Australian businesses at 68% this year. Since 2013, the land across the ditch has been the preferred market for Australian exporters and the only to experience steady growth, rising 17% over this period.
The North America region comes in at second place, with 52% of Australian businesses receiving export orders from customers based there. In the past six years, the portion of exporters doing business in North America has fluctuated year-to-year, but rose 10% overall.
E-commerce continues to power growth as exporters project investments in workforce Sustaining return on investment, online channels proved a fruitful avenue for generating orders or enquires for more than 3 in 4 (77%) Australian exporters this year.
Additionally, results pair with strategies engaged to drive online orders from overseas customers.
This year, export businesses have decidedly turned their focus to improving website design (36%, up 9% on 2018) and introducing more competitive promotions and discounts (20%, up 6% on 2018).
Offering free or discounted delivery (20%), improving payment functionality (17%), and creating mobile optimised (17%) and localised websites (15%) all recorded increased uptake across the board.