SINGAPORE (Dec 19): International sales now account for an average of 35% of revenue of Singapore e-commerce businesses, according to a study published Thursday by digital payments giant Visa Inc.

But while 96% of Singapore business owners agreed that having an international presence is key to their company’s success in five years, only 72% are currently already engaging in cross-border sales.

On a positive note, the Singapore figures are higher than the global averages.

Globally, only 66% of businesses that sell online have international customers, with cross-border sales accounting for 31% of these businesses’ revenues.

According to The Visa Global Merchant eCommerce Study, which analysed responses of 1,000 C-level executives or business owners across 10 global markets, e-commerce leaders globally view international expansion and finding new cross-border customers as critical to driving growth.

“Cross-border is a major growth opportunity for businesses. However, it is not easy, especially for small businesses,” says Kunal Chatterjee, Visa Country Manager for Singapore & Brunei.

Some 42% of businesses cite shipping issues as the leading barrier to international expansion, while 37% say the top challenge is accepting and processing foreign transactions.

“As a global network, Visa wants to ensure that we work with merchants to create frictionless and secure payment experiences for consumers when they shop online,” Chatterjee says.