International Trade

6 out of 10 of UK SMEs will trade internationally in 2016

2 min read

29 September 2014

Over the next two years, UK SMEs project that their international business relationships will increase in both scope and importance.

This figure represents a 20 per cent increase on the number of countries they currently trade with, are reported in a new study by Citrix and YouGov.

Furthermore, 28 per cent expect revenue from international sales to increase by 2016. 

Of those currently selling internationally (42 per cent) almost one in two sell through the business’ own websites (45 per cent) and a growing number (14 per cent) are using online marketplaces. 

And while Europe and North America continue to dominate international trading relationships, at least one in ten UK SMEs say they are doing business outside of these markets. Significantly, younger SME managers (25-44 age group) are more likely to be trading with emerging markets than those aged 45 and over.

Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, agrees that international is fast becoming the de facto trading position for the UK’s small businesses: “With over 2bn people and millions of businesses now online across the globe, it has never been easier for small businesses to trade internationally. 

“In an increasingly digital world, many of today’s start-ups are thinking globally from day one and reaping the benefits, however there are also many small businesses that aren’t online and aren’t exploring the potential of international trade. Whether you’re a small business owner looking to take your first international order or expand into emerging markets there’s a wealth of advice, support and funding available to help you make your ambitions a reality.”

However, the report indicates that many UK SMEs are still not convinced by the benefits of international trading. The two biggest reasons cited for not doing more international business were that products or services weren’t relevant to trading internationally, and there is more opportunity for growth locally.

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