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SME $526 billion export opportunity for small businesses, thanks to Covid-led digital adoption, says PayPal

Nearly 60 per cent of exported items are goods which represents a $313 billion market for India’s local artisans of tribal products, handicrafts, or small exporters of gems & jewellery. 

Pandemic-induced growth in e-commerce adoption and digital payments, which has enabled seamless cross-border trade, represents a $526 billion opportunity in exports for small businesses to benefit, according to a PayPal study. Of this, nearly 60 per cent of exported items are goods which represents a $313 billion market for India’s local artisans of tribal products, handicrafts, or small exporters of gems & jewellery. Among the best performing sectors are gems & jewellery, ready-made garments, leather products, electronics, and handicrafts, clocking in $60 billion – nearly 19 per cent of the total goods exports.

“This (digital adoption) presents a global opportunity, especially for small businesses and entrepreneurs who have reworked their business models from offline to online… The advantage to leverage the global B2C demand is endless as adoption of online shopping has opened the floodgates to purchase custom-made goods from anywhere in the world,” Paypal said in its Cross Border Trade report 2021. PayPal had stopped its payment operations in India on April 1 to instead focus on their cross-border trades and exports for local businesses.

Non-business-to-business (B2B) exports account for 22 per cent (worth $70 billion) of the total goods exports market. Gems & jewellery had the highest export market share worth $34 billion followed by $16 billion by ready-made garments, $5 billion by leather products, electronics’ $3 billion, and handicrafts’ $2 billion.

In May this year, PayPal had introduced an automated process to obtain the monthly Foreign Inward Remittance Advice (FIRA) for MSME exporters and freelancers. At a zero cost, PayPal merchants can download their monthly digital FIRA issued by the bank by logging into their PayPal account. The fully automated process doesn’t require sellers to place manual and individual requests. Foreign Inward Remittance Advice is a document that acts as proof for all inward remittances and payments received from abroad.

PayPal had also earlier this year partnered with digital lending platform FlexiLoans to provide collateral-free business loans to freelancers, women entrepreneurs, sole proprietors, and MSME for business expansion, purchasing stock, inventory, and other business-related expenditures. The tie-up enabled borrowers to secure term loans from Rs 50,000 up to Rs 1 crore for a tenure ranging from six to 36 months.