Wednesday 7 July 2021 12:01 am

UK small businesses rack up £3.5bn in Amazon export sales

Small and medium-sized British businesses selling on Amazon recorded over £3.5bn in export sales last year, according to figures released by the tech giant.

Amazon said more than 14,000 UK SMEs surpassed £100,000 in sales in 2020, while over 1,000 reached £1m in sales for the first time.

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

Amazon also said that small businesses selling through its platform had created 175,000 jobs across the UK.

The outbreak of the pandemic last year sparked a huge shift to ecommerce as retailers were forced to shutter brick-and-mortar stores and rely on online shopping.

As a result the number of products sold on Amazon by SMEs surged to 750m from 550m the previous year — equivalent to more than 1,500 products a minute on average.

The £3.5bn in export sales marked a 20 per cent increase year on year.

Amazon has also benefited from this growth, with its UK revenue jumping more than 50 per cent to hit $26.5bn (£20bn) last year.

But the tech giant has come under fierce scrutiny over its tax practices. In 2019 the company paid just three per cent more to the exchequer despite seeing its profits rise by more than a third.

Amazon is one of the companies targeted under new global corporation tax rules agreed by the OECD, which are designed to force large firms to pay tax in the countries where they make money.

But analysis by think tank Tax Watch last month warned American tech giants could have their UK tax bills slashed under the new rules, with the US Treasury set to be the main beneficiary. 

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