Australian e-commerce businesses eye global expansion in the lead up to the holiday shopping season


90 per cent of Australian e-commerce business leaders believe an international presence is essential to their company’s future success, according to a study by Visa, the global payments technology company.

The Visa Global Merchant eCommerce Study found 94 per cent of the Australian businesses surveyed are taking action to expand online sales into new markets as they seek to grow their businesses and take advantage of the holiday shopping period. Of the 94 per cent, half are developing market-specific offerings (50 per cent) and market entry strategies (46 per cent), as well as launching targeted marketing campaigns (40 per cent).

Yet only three in five Australian e-commerce businesses currently sell internationally, and 43 per cent of these earn a fifth or less of their total sales from other markets. In fact, the majority (70 per cent) of e-commerce executives don’t believe their companies know how to maximise the potential of international sales.

Of those that haven’t yet expanded internationally, 50 per cent cite costs, 40 per cent cite lack of data on international customers, and 40 per cent cite international trade or legal issues as key barriers to entry.

“The explosion of cross-border sales has unlocked unprecedented opportunities for Australian businesses, for both the short and long-term,” said Julian Potter, Visa’s Group Country Manager for Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific.

“Australians refuse to rest on their laurels, with businesses eager to expand into new markets and lay the groundwork for future success. However, our research suggests these businesses need assistance to refine their international sales strategies.

“For instance, businesses cited a lack of data and analytics on international customers. With Visa’s global presence, we are able to glean unique and timely insights into global spending trends that can help inform strategy.”

Western holidays mean business, but competition is fierce

The end-of-year holiday period is a crucial time for businesses around the world, with the period accounting for more than a quarter of annual revenue for the vast majority of businesses surveyed.

Heading into the 2019 holiday season, 67 per cent of Australian businesses are most concerned about increased competition from other retailers, with almost four out of five of these businesses still relying on domestic sales to drive a large portion of their revenue during this time.

“Despite several challenges facing the domestic retail environment, the enormous growth of e-commerce, spurred on by the convenient and innovative shopping experience it creates for consumers, provides a new opportunity for Australian businesses to diversify into new markets,” said Mr Potter.

“Among its many amazing qualities, Australia is known for its world-leading goods and services. By selling these internationally, Australian businesses are not only growing their own sales, they are enhancing our country’s brand and building the customer base for all local businesses.”

This week, Visa launched #WhereYouShopMatters an initiative to support Australian businesses and help them succeed by encouraging consumers to think about the positive impact where they shop can have on local communities.


Media contact
Samantha Vogts
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About Visa Inc.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of connected commerce on any device, and a driving force behind the dream of a cashless future for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit and @VisaNews.

About Visa Global Merchant eCommerce Study 2019

The Visa Global Merchant eCommerce Study analysed responses of 1,000 C-level executives or business owners who work at companies with e-commerce capabilities across 10 global markets: Australia, Canada, China/Hong Kong, France, Germany, Mexico, Singapore, Spain, United Kingdom and United States. The study is part of Visa’s continued commitment to helping industry players in their pursuit of developing the cross-border e-commerce ecosystem. The study was conducted in conjunction with research and business intelligence firm Wakefield Research in July/August 2019.