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October 31, 2014

UK small firms set their sights on the world

UK small firms set their sights on the worldHalf of UK small businesses are trading with countries outside the UK, and that figure is set to increase to 60% by 2015.

A survey of over 2,000 SMEs by YouGov for Citrix has found that 42% of UK small firms sell their products and services internationally, while 50% either buy from or sell to countries outside the UK.

The report concludes that more UK firms will start trading overseas as advances in technology and logistics further reduce the barriers to trade.

The regions most likely to explore international trade are London (59%), the South East of England (47%) and Yorkshire and the Humber (43%). The areas where small firms are least likely to trade internationally are Wales (28%) and the North East (26%).

More small firms in London (39%) than any other region expect to see an increase in international revenues in the next two years.

Nationally, small businesses in the technology and marketing sectors are most likely to sell products and services abroad and are also most bullish on the potential for growth in revenues from international business.

In particular, IT firms in the South East and the East Midlands are projecting a 27% and 28% increase respectively in revenue from international trade in the next two years.

Manufacturers are also optimistic about exporting, according to the research. Almost three in ten companies surveyed in Yorkshire and the Humber are in manufacturing and construction, and 34% of small firms there expect to see increased international revenues.

High-growth markets also offer new opportunities, says the report. Overall, 55% of those trading with North America expect annual revenue from international sales to increase by 2016. Other key markets include Eastern Europe, Russia, the Middle East and China.

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