A new survey has given business owners, and in turn export packers, something to smile about. It revealed that British SMEs are topping the European chart when it comes to building up export revenue.
The UPS survey, called European SME Exporting Insights, involved questioning more than 8,000 owners and directors of SMEs in the UK, Belgium, Poland, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Germany. The businesses were all involved in the retail, industrial, high-tech, healthcare or automotive industries.
The results revealed that British SMEs exporting to non-EU countries were top when it came to how they have increased turnover since the world-wide financial crisis. Almost three-quarters (72 per cent) of the SMEs involved in the survey said that turnover had gone up between 2010 and 2012. This was much higher than the average figure of 43 per cent for those businesses reporting turnover increases in world-wide exports.
The research found that UK SMEs increased turnover by 29 per cent more than the average in terms of non-EU exports and were 26 per cent better for EU exports. A total of 39 per cent of the British SMEs involved in the study reported sending exports to EU countries, while 31 per cent said that they had exported out of the EU zone.
British SMEs exporting outside of the EU were most likely to ship to America, the survey found, with 54 per cent of those questioned reporting having exported to the US. Other destinations high on the list of non-European destinations included Canada and Australia.
In more general terms, the survey discovered that with the exception of those in Poland and Italy, SMEs which exported items were more likely to increase turnover than those businesses trading solely in domestic markets.
British SMEs certainly seem willing to tap into the potential and have positive hopes for the future, especially compared to their European counterparts. Almost half (46 per cent) of SMEs in the UK said that they anticipate export volumes to increase in the next 12 months, compared to a German figure of 41 per cent, 31 per cent for Belgian SMEs and only 17 per cent for the businesses in France.
The survey also revealed that there is plenty of opportunity for export packers to cash in on UK SMEs’ acceptance that exports should be a ‘logical next step’ for businesses seeking growth. SMEs across Europe told the survey, however, that a major barrier to EU exports was the risk of damage and loss of goods, meaning that more growth could be prompted by packers doing even more to promote their professional services.