Amazon announced in November that UK-based businesses selling on Amazon Marketplace are expected to achieve combined export sales of over £1.8 billion in 2016, up by 29% year on year.

According to the eCommerce giant, more than 60% of the tens of thousands of UK small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) selling on Amazon Marketplace are now exporting to customers around the world.

Meanwhile, the number of UK-based Marketplace sellers exporting to European customers increased by more than 40% in the last year. Earlier this month, Amazon Marketplace in the UK launched a free tool allowing its partner businesses to sell to China, with Amazon saying that it takes care of the language, regulation, payments and other local logistics issues.

The exporting figures were announced at the first Amazon Academy in the UK, an event in east London providing hundreds of SMEs with a chance to network and hear from Amazon about its latest services and initiatives.

Amazon's first Amazon Academy event in the UK attracted SMEs from around the country

Essential Retail was in the audience to hear Amazon UK country manager, Doug Gurr, offer his view about the digital transformation journeys on which the wider UK business world is embarking. He also said it was Amazon's aim to make it "as easy to sell internationally" as it is to sell in the UK.

"The Marketplace is an opportunity to export all around the world," he noted, adding that China in particular has significant potential for British brands looking to expand their horizons.

Gurr spoke of the company's Amazon Web Services (AWS) offering, on which thousands of businesses – including larger players such as Missguided – base their digital infrastructure. Addressing the SMEs in the audience, he said AWS was "an opportunity to get access to the kind of technology that only a few years ago would only have been available to the very large organisatons".

On general technology trends, he argued that it is "still day one" in terms of the eCommerce evolution with most businesses still trying to work out their digital strategies.

"As we look at this extraordinarily transformative technology, our belief is that we're still at the very, very early stages of that technology," Gurr noted.

"We're still just beginning to understand and work through the implications for [SMEs], for our business and the way in which customers and businesses communicate. And we believe the pace of change will be accelerating not decelerating, so it's still day one."