The CMO Survey asks top marketers what percentage of their company sales comes from international markets. Analysis of this question over time indicates that this percentage increased from 19.3% in August 2010 to 24.7% in August 2011. Exhibit 1 shows that this growth rate is unevenly distributed across sectors, though. Product companies are showing big increases while services companies are flat.
Unsurprisingly, larger companies are more likely to sell in international markets. As shown in Exhibit 2, the percentage of international sales in both August 2010 and 2011 increases with company size as measured by total sales revenue. International sales growth is uneven across the business size categories, but is impressive in all cases. The National Export Initiative launched by the Obama Administration in 2010 is part of the goal to double exports over the next five years. This is accomplished by educating U.S. companies about opportunities overseas, connecting them with new customers, improving access to credit, and advocating for their interests.
Where is this growth coming from? The CMO Survey asked marketers to rate their top three international markets in terms of sales. Looking at the data, we see that some markets increased while other decreased since February 2011.
The high growth in India can be attributed to the country’s continued growth fueled by the increase in working population and their progressive savings. China and Eastern Europe also saw strong increases. On the other hand, some countries witnessed significant declines. The Middle East witnessed a decline in sales from 6.1% to 2.2% during February 2011 to August 2011 with political turmoil and instability as the logical explanation. Sales revenue to Japan and Mexico also decreased. This is likely due to the effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and Mexico’s instability due to drug cartel violence.