Exploring the growth strategies and driving forces
powering Australian export businesses since 2003.

While the lingering impact of COVID-19, external economic factors and softening e-commerce demand have been forces at play in 2022, Australia’s export industry has skillfully navigated through to calmer waters.

Remaining confident and armed with new strategies to fortify their supply chains and pursue new market opportunities, businesses show they are prepared to take on 2023.

In this edition, find out how Australian businesses plan to grow their exports.

DHL Export Barometer 2022

Exploring the growth strategies and driving forces powering Australian export businesses


Export confidence on the rise

Although the past two years have presented an array of challenges for Australian businesses – from a global pandemic and overseas conflicts, to inflation, trade tariffs and exchange rates – optimism is on the up.

The number of exporters who are confident their sales will grow in the next 12 months is at the Barometer’s second highest recorded level.

New overseas markets: exporting and importing

New Zealand is again the most popular export destination

In second and third place are the regions of North America and Europe

Moving forward, China will be the nation to watch, with exports to the country up 6%

Australian exporters are continuing with global expansion plans, with the number of overseas markets businesses targeted in 2022 rising to 4.5.

In the coming year 48% also intend to enter a new market.


of Australian businesses also engage in importing

More businesses are also importing raw materials and goods, up 6% from last year. Top import origins include China, North America and Europe.

Sourcing from multiple or different suppliers
Increasing stock levels
Sourcing products or raw materials from alternative markets
Manufacturing more domestically within Australia

Diversifying supply chains

When it came to exporting this year, businesses continued to face a number of pandemic-related issues. Common challenges included disruptions to supply chains, the cost of freight, inflation and tariffs.

To mitigate risks, business reported implementing new measures to diversify and strengthen their supply chains.

And these strategies appear to be paying off, with businesses that predict their sales revenue to grow more likely to have taken action to bolster their supply chains.

Inking deals with free trade agreements

In the past two years, new free trade agreements (FTAs) have been signed between Australia and overseas trade partners – and businesses have been making the most of the trade benefits on offer.

But while 79% of exporters say FTAs are important to their business, a portion of businesses reported that they were not aware an FTA was available for their largest export market – pointing to a potential gap in FTA awareness.

25% of the companies trading in North America, 24% in New Zealand and 21% in China report they did not know an agreement was in place.

ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA)

Used by 67% of businesses

China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA)

Used by 61% of businesses

Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA)

Used by 60% of businesses

E-commerce customer experience

Consumer appetite for the convenience of online shopping has continued to prove fruitful for many Australian businesses, with 79% saying they generated sales orders through e-commerce channels in the past year.

And for close to half of businesses (47%), export order numbers grew over the same period.

The positive results have led Australian exporters to look for ways to further attract new buyers and enhance their business’ e-commerce customer experience (CX).

Spend more on online marketing

Improve website design

Improve fulfilment and delivery

Improve customer service

About the DHL Export Barometer

Since 2003, the DHL Export Barometer has been generating independent industry insights for Australian exporters – from emerging trends to significant evolving challenges in domestic and international markets.

Conducted by ACA Research, the 2022 edition surveyed 948 Australian businesses between 31 August and 21 September 2022.

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