Confidence soars for export-hungry UK SMEs

British SMEs are showing the rest of Europe how it's done with 20% more SMEs expecting to export by 2016

Confidence soars for export-hungry UK SMEs

Europe has been a place of fraternal rivalry for an age. No gloating then at news that those British SMEs that export are blowing their counterparts in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, France, Poland and Belgium out of the water in terms of building revenue. This is according to a new survey of more than 8,000 SMEs across the continent by UPS, one of the largest shipment and logistics companies in the world.

Brits were 29% more successful at increasing turnover when exporting outside the EU and 26% more when exporting inside. Of UK businesses surveyed, 72% reported an increased turnover between 2010 and 2012. While most exports are within the EU, some SMEs are shipping all over the world, with 39% of those surveyed exporting to countries within the EU and 31% exporting to countries outside the EU. The US is the top destination outside Europe, with Australia and Canada of notable mention too.

Further evidence that things are in full swing came in the form of a recent YouGov report showing confidence on the rise among UK SMEs, with six in ten small businesses expecting to start exporting by 2016, a 20% increase on current levels. And confidence has been steadily growing since economies began to emerge from the financial crisis. Not only are SMEs more confident they will increase export revenues, more than 10% expect to export beyond the EU and the US markets, which traditionally hold the hearts of UK exporters.

If this came to fruition, it would see Britain well on its way to meeting the challenge laid down by the government to double exports to £1tn by 2020. However, UPS went on to find that SMEs across Europe are still failing to take advantage of all the export opportunities the continent has to offer, as those of us in the EU are blessed with low shipping costs and fewer admin burdens. The UK in particular was reported to be suffering from an ‘island mentality’. 

So, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds… and in commodities, electricals and financial services. Things are looking up for British exports; SMEs should take full advantage. 


Ryan McChrystal
Ryan McChrystal

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