SMEs across the UK are feeling cynical when looking at their exporting opportunities this year, according to the latest SME confidence Tracker conducted by Bibby Financial Services.
The research which was generated during the first quarter in 2018 has highlighted that, of those who took part in the research, 66% of SMEs only buy and sell domestically while 20% do both exporting and importing. 7% just import with the same amount selling their goods and services across seas. Of the businesses who responded saying they currently do no form of exporting, 40% have no intention in starting, 28% consider their goods and services as not suitable for overseas while 10% have plans to explore exporting between April and July this year.
Specialist Director at Bibby Financial Services, Kash Ahmad comments;
“The ‘Made in Britain’ stamp is a sign of quality assurance worldwide and has huge credibility in overseas markets. However, our research shows that many small and medium sized businesses are either sceptical over the benefits of exporting, or do not believe their goods and services can be sold internationally.”
The report, which surveys SMEs within the manufacturing, wholesale, transport, services and construction markets found that the UK’s most popular list of countries they export with are;
When looking at those who are importers the most important countries are;
Ahmad continues to say;
“There are fantastic support services to help SMEs overcome the complexities of trading internationally from organisations such as the Institute of Export, International Trade and the British Exporters Association. However, it is clear that smaller businesses need further help in identifying opportunities to grow by trading internationally, and – importantly – support in understanding which international markets their goods and services could appeal to.”
Although SMEs are feeling cynical about exporting opportunities, the number of SMEs who believe their sales will grow during the second quarter this year has increased by 13% with 50% saying they are now expecting growth compared their initial thoughts during the first 3 months of the year.
To add, 36% of SMEs have revealed that they would back calls for Britain to stay in the Single Market and Customs Union.
Ahmad concludes with;
“While there is still a long way to go in negotiating the UK’s split from the EU, it is imperative that SMEs are kept at the heart of future discussions. This really needs to start with a review of how the Government can encourage business owners to leverage exporting opportunities presented, both inside and outside of the trading bloc. Whether for manufacturers in the Midlands, Scottish food and drink producers, or SMEs working in Wales’s growing creative industries, there are markets across the world crying-out for British goods and services. It’s imperative that support is available to help non-exporting SMEs to recognise and realise these opportunities.”