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How Pandemic Pushed SMEs to Embrace International Sales, Suppliers – Report

Online business and international sales are key drivers, with seven in ten (71%) recording above-global-average growth in online sales, while 77% are planning to do more business internationally going forward

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A fashion designer who is using digital solutions to connect international customers. Source: assets.weforum.org
  • Mastercard’s Borderless Payments Report 2022 has revealed two in five (46%) SMEs in EEMEA are earning more money than before the pandemic, driven by digital growth and international sales opportunities.
  • Seven in ten (71%) saw above-global-average growth in online sales and nearly half (49%) are doing more business overseas.
  • Seven in ten (72%) also say the pandemic has allowed them to source suppliers more competitively across borders.
  • With this heightened focus on international sales and global suppliers, six in ten (59%) are now making and receiving more cross-border payments than they were prior to the pandemic.

Data from Mastercard’s 2022 Borderless Payments Report has revealed two in five (46%) small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (EEMEA) are earning more money than before the pandemic. 

Online business and international sales are key drivers, with seven in ten (71%) recording above-global-average growth in online sales, while 77% are planning to do more business internationally going forward.

The research, which covered over 3,000 small businesses from around the world, highlighted that 75% of SMEs had to make changes to their business model to survive the pandemic whilst 64% globally believe it has changed how they will do business forever. 

The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation to tap into cross-border opportunities, with nearly half (49%) in EEMEA saying they now do more business internationally.

Almost three-quarters (64%) of respondents credit cross-border payments with enabling their business to grow, making it clear that cross-border payments will be a key focus for business growth across the EEMEA region, and therefore economic recovery, moving forward. 59% said they are now making and receiving more cross-border payments than they were prior to the pandemic. In fact, seven in ten (72%) say the pandemic has allowed them to source more competitive quotes from suppliers across borders and 46% say using international suppliers reduces risk.

Stephen Grainger, Executive Vice President, Mastercard said: “The unprecedented disruption introduced by the pandemic has realigned regional and global economics, with many SMEs looking keenly towards prospects in new markets. With small businesses in EEMEA and across the world growing their international customer and supplier networks at pace, especially online, it’s crucial that financial institutions have the right cross-border solutions in place to support them. Cross-border payment systems must become faster, cheaper and more secure. Through a single point of access, Mastercard Cross-Border Services allows businesses to send and receive money safely and with the certainty they crave.”

Through partnerships with financial institutions around the world, Mastercard is empowering every business to address these issues and improve cross-border payments for both businesses and individuals.

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Mastercard Cross-Border Services allow people and businesses to send and receive money securely, and with upfront visibility of timings and fees to provide people and businesses with more confidence and predictability.

The full Mastercard Borderless Payments Report 2022 is available here.

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​Joan Aimuengheuwa is a content writer who takes keen interest in the scopes of innovation among African startups. She thrives at meeting targets and expectations. Contact: [email protected]

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