As many as 350 million businesses could become first-time exporters if they adopted an end-to-end digital strategy, providing a boost to global trade. This is the main finding from the first “Future of Trade” report by the Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre (DMCC), a UAE-based commodity hub for trade and enterprise.

Building on insights from 150 experts across the world, the report suggests that full digitisation of commerce could lead to a six-fold increase in the number of businesses that export goods. This could mean that between 100 million and 350 million businesses would become engaged in global export trade for the first time.

“The conclusions of our report are clear,” says Gautam Sashittal, CEO at DMCC. “Companies that want to succeed in today’s challenging marketplace must adopt a robust digital strategy, think globally and embrace change. If the world of global trade collaborates around these maxims, we will all surely benefit.”

Another result of the research is the creation of the Industry Digitalisation Index (IDI), which will measure the progress of change across geographies and sectors over time. As of today, the IDI finds that 42% of all businesses are fully digitised.

The report, which was presented and discussed at an event live in London and Dubai simultaneously, also analyses the consequences of digitisation on a number of specific issues, such as changes in global power structure, access to funding, talent attraction and retention, regulation, and the efficiency of the trade system as a whole.