A YouGov report reveals that six in ten small businesses (SME’s) expect to be exporting by 2016, a 20 percent increase on current levels. A rise in confidence, since economies began to emerge from the financial recession, means that more SMEs are either already exporting to more countries than ever before or they are planning to.
Furthermore, of those already exporting one in five expect to increase the number of countries they are active in by 2016 and more than a quarter, 28 percent, expect their export revenue to increase over the next two years. This report is suggesting that SMEs are more confident and they aim to increase export revenues. More than one in ten expect to export beyond the EU and the US markets, which traditionally dominate UK trade. In fact, nearly one in five entrepreneurs aged 25-44 are trading with China already and one in six are trading with India and Russia, the report found.
The finding that so many SMEs expect to begin exporting for the first time, or open up new markets, comes nearly a year after MPs suggested that the government body behind the current export drive, UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), should to do more to encourage small businesses to seek growth abroad. Also, British SMEs that export are doing better than their counterparts in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, France and Poland in terms of building revenue. This is according to another 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 percent more successful at increasing turnover when exporting outside the EU and 26 percent more successful when exporting inside. Of the UK businesses surveyed, 72 percent 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 percent of those surveyed exporting to countries within the EU and 31 percent exporting to countries outside the EU. The US is the top destination outside Europe, with Australia and Canada of notable mention too.
The British Chambers of Commerce has also published new research, in conjunction with DHL Express, looking at the health of the UK’s export market. The BCC/DHL Trade Confidence Index, which measures both UK exporting activity and business confidence, shows that turnover confidence among exporters is now at the highest level on record, 72 percent. Confidence was particularly strong among exporting manufacturers, with 69 percent believing that their turnover is likely to improve, compared with 66 percent last quarter.
More than one third of exporting firms said that they expected to increase staff over the next quarter. Although the volume of exports in goods fell overall, compared with the previous quarter, they increased for nearly half of service sector firms and for 42% of manufacturing firms in Q4 2013. Commenting, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “What we must take away from this research is that the confidence of our exporters is at a new high. We must all work together if we are to compete on a global scale and put the UK at the forefront of the exporting agenda over the months and years ahead.”
Commenting on the report’s results, Phil Couchman, CEO of DHL Express UK and Ireland, said: “Confidence is at a record high amongst exporters, which shows a marked change in attitudes compared with previous reports. Positively, there continues to be a high level of demand overseas for “Brand Britain” and newly cited emerging markets, such as MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) countries, present great opportunities for British businesses. With the right advice, product and plan they have the potential to succeed in these fast-growing emerging markets.”
What additional assistance might the government offer small businesses?