UK SMEs Underpinning Hugely Promising Export Growth

UK SMEs Underpinning Hugely Promising Export Growth

Almost two-thirds (63%) of the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are now exporting their goods and services overseas, using the decline in sterling’s value to their advantage to trade globally, according to a new report by FedEx Express.

The survey of SME exporters across Britain found that export revenues account for almost three-fifths (59%) of the total revenues of these SMEs. In addition, a third of those surveyed anticipate further export revenue growth in the coming year.

The report reveals that the vast majority (86%) of exporting British firms trade with their European neighbours, while almost two-thirds (63%) export outside of Europe.

There has been a steady increase in the number of small businesses demonstrating willingness and commitment to exporting to markets that have traditionally been more difficult to crack.

As an example, more than a third (38%) of UK SMEs now export to the United States, placing it as the most popular export market for British firms beyond Europe. This is particularly remarkable when you consider the plethora of challenges relating to regional differences and even stronger competition across the Atlantic.

While businesses appear to be more enthusiastic about tackling more challenging markets, the FedEx SME Export Report also reveals that many of the businesses surveyed are investigating opportunities for diversification, opening their business to completely new markets that would have previously gone untouched.

Much of that expansion into new markets has been attributed to shipping and logistics providers who have helped agile SMEs respond to new market trends and developments.

Ed Clarke, managing director, UK ground operations, FedEx Express, said: “British SMEs are the bedrock of the economy. As these businesses are displaying such great resilience in times of uncertainty, there will no doubt be an upswing in exciting and ambitious SMEs who also want to make their mark in today’s economy.

“By benefiting from advice from their logistics providers, these enterprises will be ready to meet the challenges head on with a lot of positivity.”

That positivity also appears to be rubbing off on the UK’s continental neighbours, with the FedEx SME Export Report also noting that a host of European SMEs are seeking exciting new opportunities too. More than half (53%) of European SMEs surveyed said they were already exporting to other continents – a marked rise on the 29% figure that were exporting to other continents less than two years ago.

The top five UK SME export markets inside Europe – according to the FedEx SME Export Report – are as follows:

  • France (60%)
  • Germany (56%)
  • Ireland (43%)
  • Spain (39%)
  • Italy (35%)

Meanwhile, the top five UK SME export markets outside of Europe – according to the FedEx SME Export Report – are:

  • United States of America (38%)
  • India (20%)
  • Australia (16%)
  • United Arab Emirates (15%)
  • South Africa (13%)

The growing export confidence among UK SMEs is great news for companies such as Staples International. With tailored shipping, handling and packaging solutions, it’s a great opportunity for businesses like us to give ambitious businesses the platform to be a success on the global stage.