FedEx: Only 25% Of Small Firms Export

A New Report Has Claimed Only 25% Of UK SMEs Export


Fergal Dowling, Partner | +44 (0)121 214 5476
A new report from FedEx has claimed that only 25 per cent of SMEs in the UK export to companies in overseas markets.
In a survey of 1,000 small firms across the country, only a quarter describe themselves as "internationally active", while just 35 per cent think that tapping into overseas markets will be "essential" to their success in the next 12 months, reports SHD Logistics.
Many SMEs say they need more help in reaching foreign companies, with 51.9 per cent of the 1,000 study participants stating they would require support from an external organisation if they decided to begin exporting.
This lack of knowledge comes at a price, according to FedEx, as firms that export to international markets are three times more likely to grow than those that trade solely within the UK.
Vice-president of operations at FedEx Express UK & Ireland Trevor Hoyle said: "Now is the time for UK businesses to prepare for the internationalisation of their activities.
"This will allow them to get off to a flying start on the global stage and succeed in driving the UK economy forward as long as they have access to the correct support required to help propel them to continuing international success."
The FedEx study also revealed the top ten markets that the UK currently exports to.
SMEs were most likely to sell their products to the US, with Australia and New Zealand in second and third place respectively.
When asked which markets were the most challenging to enter, participants ranked China at the top of the list, with Russia and the US just behind.
The UK government has increasingly encouraged SMEs to exploit foreign markets for growth opportunities, organising trade trips to developing countries including Indonesia, China and India in recent months.
However, many small firms complain they are not receiving enough backing from Whitehall in this regard, with many calling for tax breaks or subsidies.

Expert Opinion
It is interesting to see these figures emerge considering the number of studies earlier this year which suggested that many small businesses would be viewing the improving economy as a sign that they should start to consider opportunities abroad.

"Such research demonstrates how important it is for SMEs to have access to the right tools and support in order to achieve their aims and develop offerings. Growing firms cannot ignore the importance of having the right support network in place to assist them with all of their needs, including their plans for global partnerships and expansion.

"A key component to this is having access to quality legal support, as the right lawyers are able to provide comprehensive guidance on a range of issues which are key to exporting and agreeing links with overseas partners."
Fergal Dowling, Partner