As the US economy becomes more confident in its recovery, 82% of US businesses are now looking overseas in a bid to grow sales.
According to a new study conducted by IDC and commissioned by TMF Group, a leading global provider of high-value business services, nearly half of the companies questioned (48%) were looking to grow internationally in the next two years - primarily to Asia Pacific (42%) and Europe (36%).
Eight out of ten respondents (82%) cited increasing sales as among their reasons for international expansion, followed at some distance by establishing a shared service center for back office functions (25%).
The most popular territories under consideration for future expansion were the UK and Germany (Europe) and China and India (Asia Pacific).
"The US economy was one of the first recessionary economies to return to growth and this early domestic market recovery has meant that US businesses, having stabilised their existing business, are now in a better position to consider international expansion in other regions ahead of their peers - particularly those headquartered in Europe," explained John Simcox of IDC, author of the report.
Fifty in-depth interviews were conducted with senior level decision makers at US-headquartered organizations that have set up, or are setting up, operations in new jurisdictions. The interviews examined views, experiences, and challenges faced when businesses are entering new countries as well as best approaches and key considerations when expanding internationally.
The organizations came from a range of industry sectors including high-tech and luxury consumer goods as well as financial and professional services, travel and logistics and biotech and pharmaceuticals. Companies ranged in size from approximately 500 to almost 23,000 employees.
Respondents were drawn from senior roles closely involved in the day-to-day management of territorial expansion: chief financial officers (22%), senior HR executives (32%), chief operating officers (24%) and senior legal officers (22%).
"The growth of online commerce has not negated the need for an on-the-ground presence in international markets," explained Dennis Day, Head of Strategic Alliances at TMF Group. "The reality is that people still buy from people and this requires physical presence in key target markets, if maximum sales potential is to be realised."
He continued: "US brands have strong appeal, especially in the aspirational emerging market economies...