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Payoneer reports on unprecedented global growth opportunities for entrepreneurs and small businesses

A majority of surveyed SMBs are planning to use or are currently piloting Al to help with customer service (62%), merchandising (64%), inventory management (62%), content creation (62%), competition analysis (64%), and supply chains (63%).

Photo by Clay Banks from Unsplash.com

Payoneer, the financial technology company empowering the world’s small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to transact, do business, and grow globally, released its second annual SMB Ambitions Barometer, which surveyed nearly 3,800 SMBs across 15 countries in early 2024 to gauge the factors critical to their growth.

“We are seeing unprecedented global growth opportunities for the world’s entrepreneurs and small businesses, who are leading a new wave of globalization,” said John Caplan, CEO of Payoneer. “Forty-six percent of SMBS we surveyed are reporting that their customer base is international, up four points from last year. At the same time, SMBS are facing an ever-growing number of macro challenges and are preparing to drive efficiencies by adopting Al technologies, partnering with more vendors, and breaking into new trade corridors.”

Key themes emerging from this year’s SMB Ambitions Barometer indicate:

  • SMBs are turning to Al-powered tools and working with more vendors to support growth ambitions: A majority of surveyed SMBs are planning to use or are currently piloting Al to help with customer service (62%), merchandising (64%), inventory management (62%), content creation (62%), competition analysis (64%), and supply chains (63%). On the supply chain side, SMBS are diversifying their supply chain, working with 29 vendors (including law firms and marketing agencies) on average, up from 21 two years ago, in a proactive response to macro events. For Philippine-based SMBs, 63% agreed that a diverse and global network of vendors helps protect them from global disruptions; this belief is also echoed by SMBs in other markets.
  • SMBs are expanding their customer base by growing into new trade corridors: Two in five SMBS (40%) are prioritizing Europe and Central Asia to grow their customer base over the next five years, up from 33% in 2023. The top reasons respondents are planning to expand into these areas are business/revenue opportunities (45%), meeting customer demand (38%), and regional proximity (37%). This is part of a larger trade diversification trend, where ongoing trade tensions between China and North America have made doing business more complicated.

On the other hand, while entering new markets is top of mind among Philippine SMBs, hiring local talent remains to be a priority. In fact, 86% of Filipino SMBs are prioritizing local talent, allowing them to reap the rewards of globalization and at the same time boost local economies. In the Philippines, most (93%) SMBs are confident in their organization’s ability to increase its revenue over the next 12 months, and 90% expect the health of their local economies to improve.

  • Going global means overcoming obstaclesand SMBS are readying for the challenge: For businesses in the Philippines, some (38%) have cited brand awareness and marketing as top challenges to expanding in new markets but with the right talent and technology, local SMBs are finding these challenges manageable. In fact, 46% of SMBs surveyed in the Philippines say digitization has lowered barriers to entering the global market.

However, amid these market expansion plans, more than 40% of total respondents say they are unprepared for global events such as geopolitical conflicts, product boycotts, and trade wars, up from 36% in 2023. Cybersecurity threats are also top of mind: since 2023, reducing cybersecurity risk is 63% more likely to be a key business goal for SMBS (8% in 2023 vs. 13% in 2024).

“The opportunity for SMBs to unlock growth from accessing global demand is enormous,” said Bea Ordonez, CFO of Payoneer. “Our research shows that SMBS continue to expand their businesses across borders, extending their reach into new markets and trade corridors. To do this, SMBs are embracing digitization and innovation and working with a range of technology enabled vendors and partners who can empower and facilitate their global ambitions.”

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To learn more about Payoneer’s SMB Ambitions Barometer and read more about this year’s findings, visit https://www.payoneer.com/resources/smb-barometer-2024/.

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