3.5 minutes

More than 90% of the 1,000 SMBs that FedEx and Morning Consult surveyed said ecommerce platforms have been key to facilitating global trade.

FedEx Corp.’s Small Business Trade Index data shows that the growth of ecommerce is vital to U.S. small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

More than 90% of the 1,000 SMBs said ecommerce platforms have been key to facilitating global trade. At the same time, 86% say global trade has been an important growth driver for their businesses. The FedEx small business trade index also confirmed that U.S. small business decision-makers face additional challenges, with the majority reporting shipping delays or disruptions due to geopolitical issues as a main barrier (84%).

More than two-thirds of U.S. small business executives rely on imported goods for production or as merchandise to distribute domestically. These businesses report they export products that utilize imported materials, and 82% say the ability to import products or components from overseas directly supports jobs within their company.

Most of the business leaders report that compared to 10 years ago, they are more likely to believe global trade stimulates growth, creates jobs and fosters innovation. They also recognize the importance of retraining or reskilling individuals impacted by increased trade. An overwhelming majority (95%) support prioritizing job retraining and upgrading skills among workers to help the U.S. compete globally.

Morning Consult conducted the survey for the FedEx Small Business Trade Index between Feb. 14 and 24, 2024. It asked SMB leaders about their perceptions of the economy and trade. It also analyzed how technology and other trade policies impact U.S. business growth.


FedEx is a shipping carrier for 478 retailers in the Top 1000. The Top 1000 is Digital Commerce 360’s database ranking of North America’s leading retailers by online sales.

Key findings about ecommerce in the FedEx Trade Index

86% of small business decision-makers credit ecommerce platforms for fueling global trade, propelling business growth, according to FedEx and Morning Consult data. Meanwhile, 64% consider ecommerce platforms indispensable for international expansion.

“Trade opens new markets for businesses of all sizes and offers opportunities for engagement at a time when connectivity is needed most,” said Raj Subramaniam, FedEx president and CEO, in a statement. “Policymakers must reprioritize ambitious trade agreements so U.S. businesses can compete around the world, access new customers, and set the rules for fair and smart supply chains that connect the global marketplace.”


Similarly, 64% of decision-makers at these companies said they “lean on” ecommerce platforms — such as Shopify — to grow their businesses internationally. And 60% said online marketplaces — including Amazon, Mercado Libre and Alibaba — help them grow.

At the same time, three-quarters (75%) of these businesses consider the cost of an international ecommerce consultant to be a challenge. More specifically, 45% consider it a minor challenge and 30% a major challenge.

95% of SMBs said Japan is “very important” or “somewhat important” for the U.S. to maintain trade with, and 91% said the same about the U.K. After that, the countries these SMBs considered most important for trade were:

  • China (89%)
  • Germany (88%)
  • India (87%)
  • South Korea (83%)
  • Brazil (81%)
  • Kenya (66%)

Other key findings:

  • 91% recognize the pivotal role of technology in driving economic growth and fostering international collaboration.
  • 86% consider selling goods internationally to be important to the growth of the business
  • 84% pinpoint shipping delays and 83% highlight import/export fees as major hurdles. They emphasize the need to navigate complex trade landscapes effectively.

Mark Brohan contributed to this article.


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