Most small businesses in the UK plan to increase their overseas sales in the next 12 months, especially to Europe
According to a survey conducted by OFX, an international money transfer company, UK SMEs are expressing more optimism about international trade, even in light of the current struggle to define the terms of Brexit.
The annual survey of 500 SME owners and senior managers revealed that 62% have confidence in conducting business overseas. About 46% said that the current Brexit uncertainty had no effect at all on their desire to conduct business internationally, while only 15% said that it had caused them to be less interested.
The main findings from the survey are as follows:
- 47% of the respondents have experienced an increase in international sales since 2017, with average revenue increasing by £50,000.
- 40% reported that they expected their international sales to increase during the next 12 months, compared to 17% reporting an expected increase in last year’s survey.
- During the past 12 months, OFX experienced a 21% increase in international money transfers by UK SMEs.
- 45% of the respondents said that Western Europe was their favourite overseas market, which was a 25% increase over the preference expressed last year. OFX said that this increase is a good indicator that uncertainty about Brexit terms is not limiting the desire of SMEs to trade with the EU.
- Younger entrepreneurs expressed more optimism about trading with Commonwealth countries, with 61% of respondents between the ages of 18 and 40 stating that they viewed this trade as a reasonable option for their business. However, entrepreneurs above the age of 40 did not share that enthusiasm, with 51% saying that trading with Commonwealth countries was not a viable option for them.
- 53% indicated that the perception of “Britishness” was a valuable characteristic to have when selling products and services overseas. This characteristic was especially important for businesses selling to New Zealand (74%), the US (65%), Russia (64%) and Australia (60%).
Read more: Insights about SMEs