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65% of respondents to a new DHL survey of 1,000 small enterprises anticipate that their ecommerce sales will increase year over year in 2024.

U.S. small businesses are still bucking headwinds such as inflation and other economic challenges as they cross the mid-year point. However, a new survey of 1,000 small to medium-sized business owners from DHL shows two-thirds of small enterprises are optimistic about growing ecommerce.

The outlook for ecommerce sales in 2024 remains positive among small businesses. According to the survey, 65% of respondents anticipate that their ecommerce sales will increase year-over-year (2024 vs. 2023). 24% expect a significant increase and 41% predict a slight increase.

“This positive sentiment highlights the resilience and growth potential within the e-commerce sector, as businesses continue to adapt and find new ways to thrive in the fluctuating environment,” the survey says. “Only 6% of respondents foresee a decrease year-over-year, indicating a strong overall confidence in the continued expansion of online sales.”

However, the survey also reveals that small businesses do have some concerns over the ecommerce portions of their enterprise.

Three concerns small businesses have about ecommerce

  1. Higher costs for delivery.
    Inflation and shipping costs are prominent concerns today for ecommerce businesses — large and small. The survey reveals that 40% of respondents view shipping costs as the biggest threat to their business. Meanwhile, 38% identify inflation as their primary challenge. Likewise, 60% of respondents note that inflation is the top issue they will be following for the rest of the year, compared to other subjects like the presidential election, AI regulation and ESG regulation.
  2. International business growth is a top priority for SMEs.
    International expansion is a key focus for SMEs in 2024. Over half of the survey respondents (53%) see international growth as the biggest opportunity for their ecommerce business. This is further supported by their priority markets for expansion, with 43% targeting the European Union (EU) and United Kingdom (UK), and 29% looking toward Mexico and Canada.
    “As businesses look to expand globally, customs compliance also remains top of mind, with multiple SMEs noting that compliance with destination customs to streamline clearance will be key to market growth,” according to the survey.
  3. International trade.
    The views of U.S. presidential candidates on international trade are poised to significantly influence voting decisions among business owners. According to the survey, 65% of respondents agree that the candidates’ stances on international trade will affect their vote, with 23% strongly agreeing.

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