Online and Virtual Industries reporting huge turnovers as UK “spare room” businesses trade £32bn globally


The findings come as further proof that UK SMEs, home workers and freelancers, often with the use of a Virtual office service, can lead the way in the global economy

Research from Post Office International Payments (POIC) shows that in the last year alone British “international spare room traders” have traded over £32 billion with overseas buyers and sellers, through sites like eBay or their own website.

18 per cent of Brits sold items profitably to an international buyer online last year; of that, the average amount sold per seller was £2,194, generating a turnover of £20 billion plus. Responses to the survey suggested that over half of exporters (55 per cent) were looking to increase sales by an average of 68 per cent.

According to the report, approximately seven out of ten new businesses start off in the home, with home-based businesses contributing £300 billion to the economy.

 “People increasingly recognise they can start a low cost, high margin business that can trade internationally from a studio flat, or million pound mansion.”

Top five overseas markets UK sellers have sold goods to in the past 12 months:

  1. European Union 60%
  2. Eastern Europe 27%
  3. North America 23%
  4. Australia / Oceania 18%
  5. Central America 17%

Perhaps unsurprisingly, emerging markets of the East like India and China haven't made the top five destinations with Asia accounting for 46 per cent of orders purchased by British consumers.