This article was created as a helpful guideline for business growth targets and an indicator of when to explore new growth sources by providing general return-on-investments estimates for small, medium, and large businesses.
Last Published: 7/5/2017

Should my business do cross-border ecommerce?

First, it is important to understand the overall role ecommerce plays in manufactured goods exports:

  • In 2014 the US saw $5.8 trillion in total annual sales of US manufactured goods

    • Of this annul figure, 60% or $3.5 trillion in annual sales of US manufactured goods was sold via ecommerce sales channels (both domestic and cross-border)

  • Total exports for US manufactured goods for 2014 was $1.62 trillion

    • Of this annual figure, 27% or $1.618 trillion of US manufactured goods are exported

  • Taking the 60% of US manufacturer sales through ecommerce of the $1.618 trillion in US manufactured goods exported, leaves $970 billion worth of US manufactured goods sold via cross-border ecommerce in 2014

Different products and industries perform better in ecommerce sales channels, so it is important to work with an International Trade Specialist to find out about your particular industry and product.


What is my company ROI for investing in ecommerce sales channels?

Assuming your business has properly the invested time and resources to maximize their website search engine optimization (SEO), user experience (UX), and product information management (PIM), the following offers a helpful guideline for ecommerce growth targets.

Increases in annual sales from investing in ecommerce sales channels is dependent on the product, company itself, and when the company was founded.  Due to technological advances in business, smaller businesses gain more comparatively and more quickly from investing in its ecommerce sales channel, as well as companies formed in the last few years will reach $10 million in total annual sales at a quicker rate than companies formed in earlier years.

A company with annual sales of:

  • $0- $1 million in total annual sales can expect a median sales growth up to 137% from their ecommerce sales channels, or an increase of up to $729,927 in annual sales
  • $1million - $5million in total annual sales can expect a median sales growth rate up to 40% from their ecommerce sales channels, or an increase of up to $400,000-$2M in annual sales
  • $5million - $10million in total annual sales can expect a median sales growth rate up to 26% from their ecommerce sales channels, or an increase of up to $1.3million- $2.6million in annual sales
  • $10million - $100million in total annual sales can expect a median sales growth rate up to 7% from their ecommerce sales channels, or an increase of up to $700,000 - $7million in annual sales

Visit the eCommerce Export Resource Center to learn more about how to effectively use ecommerce sales channels.

RJ Metrics, "Ecommerce Growth Benchmark Series" (accessed June 26, 2017), https://rjmetrics.com/resources/reports/2015-ecommerce-growth-benchmark/ U.S. Census, "eCommerce Multi-Sector Data Tables" (accessed June 26,2017), http://www.census.gov/data/tables/2014/econ/e-stats/2014-e-stats.html Global Trade Atlas Database



eCommerce Industry eCommerce Export Potential Competitiveness Benchmarking Performance Management Planning