Businesses missing out on potentially lucrative export opportunities

While 53% of UK small firms currently export, most are restricting exports to familiar markets such as the US and Australia...

UK small and medium-sized enterprises are failing to take advantage of a range of export opportunities to lesser-known markets, according to research by FedEx Express.

The global survey revealed that UK firms are more likely to export to the US, Australia and Canada while countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Colombia are the most likely to import goods from other markets.

For example, 15% of fashion and textile businesses in Hong Kong are importers – higher than any other country – while Japanese businesses are the most likely to import food and drink. The report suggests that UK companies in these sectors are missing out on valuable growth opportunities that would benefit the UK economy as a whole.

Despite this, the research found that UK small businesses export more than any other country with 53% currently exporting. This is in comparison with India (52%), Hong Kong (50%) and Spain (47%).

When asked about the most common barriers to exporting, respondents cited worries over costs (22%), losing out on currency exchanges (22%) and concerns over being paid (20%) as the biggest factors.

Martin Davidian, FedEx Express managing director for UK North and Ireland, said of the report: “While it can be tempting to export to a country you are familiar with, the research shows the extent to which opportunities exist all over the world.

“UK small businesses should look to tap into these lands of opportunity in order to achieve fast and sustainable growth.”

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