Scottish small firms selling on Amazon rack up £90 million of export sales

Small and medium-sized Scottish firms selling via Amazon achieved £90 million of export sales last year, according to a new study from the internet giant.

Some 3,000 Scottish small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) now sell professionally on the online retailer’s stores, with about 450 in Edinburgh generating £20m in export sales in 2020, and 600 in Glasgow racking up about £19.5m last year.

The UK’s 65,000 SMEs selling on Amazon have created 175,000 jobs and recorded in excess of £3.5 billion in export sales in 2020, according to the 2021 UK SME Impact Report.

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Amazon, which recently faced criticism for dumping millions of unused goods in its warehouses, said that despite the pandemic creating a number of challenges for small and medium-sized businesses, many have adapted and been able to get online for the first time and thrive.

Stephanie Barnet, product development and marketing manager for Glasgow-based Shearer Candles.Stephanie Barnet, product development and marketing manager for Glasgow-based Shearer Candles.
Stephanie Barnet, product development and marketing manager for Glasgow-based Shearer Candles.

Around 14,000 UK SMEs selling on the platform surpassed £100,000 in sales, and over 1,000 reached £1 million in sales for the first time in 2020, the firm noted.

The top five categories from which customers purchased products sold by SMEs were home, health and personal care, toys, apparel and beauty.

About 60 per cent of all physical product sales on the Amazon store in the UK are from independent selling partners, most of whom are small and medium-sized businesses.

John Boumphrey, UK country manager, said: “2020 was a challenging year for many small businesses, and we’ve continued to provide business owners, start-ups and entrepreneurs with the tools and opportunities they need to succeed.

“Our latest report shows even more small and medium-sized businesses growing on Amazon stores, with a thousand new British businesses reaching £1m on Amazon stores in sales last year for the first time.”

“These businesses come from the length and breadth of the UK, with marked increases in the number of new sellers from Swansea and Glasgow, together with SMEs in places like Durham, Doncaster and Milton Keynes increasing their export sales by more than 50 per cent in the last year.

“We will continue to innovate for our selling partners, helping more businesses across the UK to reach and deliver a great experience for millions of customers around the world.”

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Stephanie Barnet, product development and marketing manager for Glasgow-based Shearer Candles, said: “Having an e-commerce branch of the business was a blessing for us. It was like we were never closed

“In the last year our Amazon sales increased by 150 per cent, as part of our wider e-commerce growth of 167 per cent across the whole company. Pre-pandemic online sales used to make up 30 per cent of the turnover and have since doubled.”

Tej Parikh, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, added: “We welcome the SME Impact Report’s encouraging findings which demonstrate how tens of thousands of small businesses have been able to increase their resilience during the pandemic by embracing digital technology.

“As we look toward the future, equipping small businesses with the skills and resources they need to take advantage of digital trade will be a vital component of our successful economic recovery.”

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