After months of research, we’re excited to announce the release of the TextMaster Global Champions Study! Our aim was to see how companies manage their international business activities and what characteristics make up a successfully international company.

 

We surveyed over 700 participants of different ages, sizes, industries, and locations. After analyzing the results, we found two important discoveries: online companies have 3x more international sales than traditional businesses and those with a multilingual website sell 5x more abroad.

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Here is a quick overview of the rest of the findings:

 

International Sales by Industry

The industries with the highest global sales as a percentage of their total revenue were:

  • Consumer goods
  • Software/apps
  • Fashion/luxury/textile

The industries that sold abroad the least were:

  • Arts and entertainment
  • Automobile/transportation
  • Publishing/media

 

Speed of international expansion

The companies that expanded the fastest (after only 2 years in business), were specialized in:

  • Travel/tourism
  • Software/apps
  • Web agencies/communication agencies/PR agencies

These businesses share common traits, such as being primarily online businesses and selling services, not products. This eliminates international logistical and distribution challenges, thereby decreasing the time needed to enter new markets.

In contrast, the companies that went abroad the slowest were in:

  • Construction/real estate
  • Health/biotechnology
  • Publishing/media

 

Online Sales

Businesses who operate primarily online have 3x more international sales than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. They also expand abroad faster (after only one year) and have a reduced need for establishing local physical offices.

Traditional businesses achieve only 14% of international sales, while online businesses have global sales that exceed 40%.

 

B2B/B2C

Although the B2B market is often seen as being far more complex than the B2C market, B2B companies are head to head with B2C companies in terms of international sales.

The increased use of online tools can account for this situation, as B2B companies, especially in the software industry, no longer need to establish a local sales team in each market. Instead, they can reach a wider range of markets through localized cloud-based B2B platforms and ecommerce sites.

 

Languages

Not surprisingly, companies with multilingual websites sell up to 5x more abroad. There is also a strong positive correlation with the number of languages spoken internally and the proportion of international business. Companies with more than 10 nationalities on staff sell up to 5x more abroad than companies with employees from only one nationality. Additionally, companies who have bilingual directors have 2x more international business.

 

Company Age

Our findings showed that older companies (> 50 years old) sell the most abroad, followed by young companies that are less than one year old. However, this varied by industry:

Software/apps: 1 year
Travel/tourism: 10 to 20 years
Ecommerce: 10 to 20 years

 

What is the profile of a business that has gone abroad and maintained a solid international presence?

Profile of a Global Champion

Age: 2 to 5 years old
Online sales: High (greater than 75% of total sales)
Industry: Ecommerce
Website: Translated into 5 or more languages
Management: Bilingual director
Staff: More than 10 nationalities internally

 

 

We would like to thank all those that participated and helped us spread the word about this study! Your contributions helped to better shape our understanding of a quickly globalized world.

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