International trade is constantly evolving, and 2024 is no exception. New trends are emerging as markets adapt to economic, technological, and social changes. For Italian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) aiming for international expansion, understanding these trends and leveraging them is essential. In this article, we will examine some of the key trends in the international market in 2024 and how SMEs can benefit from them.

  1. Accelerated Digitalization: Digitalization continues to revolutionize the way businesses operate globally. SMEs should invest in digital solutions that optimize the production, distribution, and marketing of their products. Advanced e-commerce platforms, data analytics tools, and customer relationship management (CRM) software will become indispensable for competing effectively in the international market. I would like to draw your attention to my book “8 Digital Tools for SMEs” and the state contribution Bonus Digital Export Plus, accessible from February 13th.
  2. Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility: Interest in sustainability and corporate social responsibility continues to grow among consumers worldwide. SMEs can distinguish themselves in the international market by adopting sustainable and transparent business practices. Investing in eco-friendly production, using recycled materials, and supporting social causes can not only attract customers sensitive to these issues but also build trust and loyalty in the brand. Be careful not to engage in mere greenwashing operations. A good example in this regard is the eyewear startup WEBEE, which allocates 10% of its turnover to support bee conservation actions.
  3. Growing Emerging Markets: Some emerging markets are experiencing rapid economic growth, offering interesting opportunities for Italian businesses. Countries like India, Brazil, Nigeria, and Vietnam are increasingly attractive for foreign investment and domestic consumption. SMEs can capitalize on this trend by expanding their presence in these markets through strategic partnerships, adapting their products to local needs, and investing in targeted marketing programs. I advise always starting from data and not just hearsay. In this regard, the Export Planning platform is always useful.
  4. Personalization and Customer Experience: Consumers worldwide increasingly demand personalized and engaging experiences. SMEs can distinguish themselves by offering tailor-made products and services. By using data and analysis to better understand buyer behavior, companies can create personalized offers that increase customer loyalty and enhance brand reputation. The flexibility of our SMEs allows for quick adaptation to the needs of various markets.
  5. Artificial Intelligence and Automation: Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation are transforming numerous sectors, including trade and manufacturing. SMEs can leverage this technology to improve operational efficiency, reduce costs, and offer innovative products and services. From product customization to supply chain management, AI and automation offer numerous opportunities for businesses seeking international growth. I recommend the article “Artificial Intelligence: Areas of Application and New Tools in Marketing“.
  6. Geographic Diversification: Considering the ongoing conflicts, diversifying target markets can reduce overall risk. If a specific country is afflicted by conflicts or instability, companies can consider concentrating their investments in other more stable regions or diversifying their activities internationally. It would be a good practice to have a mix composed of some growing emerging markets and less dynamic but more stable markets.


In conclusion, 2024 presents a series of international market trends that offer significant opportunities for SMEs. From digitalization to sustainability, these trends can be leveraged to expand presence in the global market and increase competitiveness. With a deep understanding of these trends and a strategic approach, Italian SMEs can find their place in the ever-evolving global market. We will discuss these topics at the conference “Searching for Customers Abroad in 2024” Tomorrow, February 27th, at Confindustria Vicenza

Pier Paolo Galbusera