? Australian exporters by the numbers, 2014-15(2) - CCPIT in Australia

Australian exporters by the numbers, 2014-15(2)

Published on 2016-06-29

For our purposes we like to categorise exporters into three categories based on the size of their exports:

•Micro-exporters, which we define as those with exports of less than $250,000;
•Small and medium-sized exporters (SMEx), which have exports between $250,000 and $50 million; and
•Mega-exporters, which have exports of more than $50 million)

As we’ve noted before, Australia’s export profile is dominated by micro-exporters in terms of the number of exporters and by mega-exporters in terms of the value of overall exports (a stylised pattern that is broadly replicated across a range of other economies). For example, in 2014-15 more than 79 per cent of all goods exporters (that is, more than 38,600 exporters) were micro-exporters. But this group accounted for just 0.6 per cent of the value of total goods exports that year. At the other end of the size spectrum there were just 425 mega-exporters, less than one per cent of the total number of exporters. This small group accounted for more than 87 per cent of all export values. In the middle, SMEx made up almost 20 per cent of export numbers (more than 9,600 exporters) and accounted for almost 12 per cent of exports by value.

Unfortunately, the published ABS data does not allow us to break down services exporters into our separate micro- and SMEx categories, but the combined group accounted for almost 97 per cent of exporter numbers in 2014-15 and around 25 per cent of total export value. In the same year, there were 110 mega-exporters of services, or about three per cent of the total, together accounting for roughly 75 per cent of export dollars earned5.

Data on exporter numbers also offers us an alternative way to rank the relative importance of export markets. The usual way we do this is by using the value of exports sold, but the data in Characteristics means that we can also rank countries by the number of exporters selling to them6.

On this alternative basis, New Zealand was Australia’s most important export market in 2014-15, the destination for more than 18,000 exporters, or more than one in three of all goods exporters. Other countries that move up the rankings on this basis include the United States (destination for more than 10,000 exporters or more than 20 per cent of the total), Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and PNG.


(Australian Government Australian Trade and Investment Commission)