Today, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) released new findings from a commissioned study on the Total Addressable Market (TAM) of small business exporters in America. Among the key findings from the study is new data, based on recent business surveys, that places the number of exporting small businesses at 1.3 million – an almost fivefold increase over the estimates previously published by the federal government. Furthermore, the research places the potential market size, or total addressable market, at over 2.6 million small businesses, representing 42 percent of all small employer businesses.
“SBA’s new research gives insight into the broader impact and opportunity for America’s small business exporters, with findings showing significantly more small businesses exporting than previously reported,” said Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “The data provides a better guide for the SBA to help ensure America’s small businesses can grow and diversify their revenue through trade. We will continue to strengthen our capacity to provide resources that small exporters need to compete in the global marketplace and power our nation’s economy.”
“We know that small businesses are the engine that drives the U.S. economy,” said Associate Administrator for International Trade, Gabriel J. Esparza, “and we can now tell a better and more comprehensive story of the importance of exporting for small businesses. We will use this research to support and advance the global market success of U.S. small businesses and evolve our products and services to better meet the needs of those current and future small business exporters.”
The federal government has traditionally derived small business exporter numbers primarily from U.S. Census Bureau surveys and goods export data. The latest official data from 2020 indicated there were approximately 264,000 small business goods exporters in the U.S. However, this data does not account for overseas shipments valued less than $2,500 and service exports, including software as a service.
The study’s research reveals the highest concentrations of small business exporters and exports exist within a variety of manufacturing, wholesale, plastics and chemicals, medical equipment, and computer systems design firms, as well as management consulting, architectural, engineering, legal, and software service providers. Emerging industries were also a focus with both goods and services exporters, such as green technology industries, given the growing global demand for technologies and services that benefit the environment. Finally, small businesses led by minority-owned women were found to be especially likely to export.
The full commissioned study to fully define the “Total Addressable Market” (TAM) of U.S. small business exporters is now available to the public here.