Digital exports spur global growth opportunities for S’pore businesses

Image courtesy of Kyle Glenn on Unsplash.

Stripe, a SaaS payment processing platform for businesses, released a report titled “Digital exports and shifting global trade in Asia-Pacific”. Based on three years of data, the report analyses the international sales of businesses on Stripe in Singapore, and observes the emergence of new digital export routes that are determined by global demand and market fit, rather than traditional supply chain routes.

The report also reveals how digital platforms are said to be transforming the economics of doing business across borders while creating growth opportunities for all kinds of businesses in Singapore.

The internet has made it possible for goods and services to be traded in different parts of the world in a matter of seconds, and given rise to entirely new business models. As digital cross-border sales increase, new digital export markets are emerging for businesses selling on Stripe in Singapore:

  • The United States has emerged as the biggest growth opportunity for businesses in Singapore on Stripe. This was the largest digital export market for Singaporean businesses selling on Stripe in 2021, followed by Australia, and the United Kingdom.
  • Australia has seen a 200% growth in businesses selling to the country on Stripe between 2020 and 2021.

While many young, digital-native companies intend to operate globally from the outset, digital platforms are said to be reducing the barriers for traditional, non-digital-native companies from Singapore to reap the benefit of new international audiences and buyers.

In fact, the number of non-digital-native enterprises and SMEs selling internationally on Stripe from Singapore grew faster than digital-native businesses (39% vs. 32% between 2020 and 2021).

With the economic slowdown unfolding at different rates globally, digital trade is enabling businesses to seek out new customers in less impacted regions to ensure that sales are not interrupted. This is causing whole industries to transform. While some industries, such as software, are by their nature easier to buy and sell online, technology platforms are also making it possible for businesses in a wide range of industries to sell their products and services internationally.

In Singapore, the top five industries that sold internationally online on Stripe in 2021 were merchandise, clothing and accessories, software, business services, and food and beverage.