UK SMEs confident to expand globally in 2015, finds report

Over a third of UK SMEs expect to grow their international business in the year ahead.

Businesses in the UK are confident that the economic climate will continue to be healthy and more than a third of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) anticipate growth in the amount of business they do overseas, according to research from Western Union Business Solutions.


Figures from the survey show that 83 per cent of respondents felt confident about the economic climate and those that felt very confident more than doubled in this quarter, according to the International Trade Monitor from Western Union Business Solutions.

The growing confidence in the situation at home has UK SMEs thinking about foreign shores, as 34 per cent of those surveyed predict an increase in their international business activity.


UK relies on exports more than other developed nations

Exports are an important aspect of business for firms in the UK, more so than other developed nations, according to the report. Just under a quarter (24 per cent) of UK SME revenue comes from exports, compared to 18 per cent in the US and 12 per cent in Canada.

“This research highlights the UK’s reliance on having a healthy, robust export market compared to other developed economies,” said Tony Crivelli, managing director of Europe at Western Union Business Solutions.

“SME revenues are intrinsically linked to the success of the domestic export market, and exporters need to ensure they remain as internationally competitive as possible,” he added.


China represents largest potential for growth

Furthermore, revenue gathered from trade overseas has increased for 38 per cent of respondents, when compared with 12 months ago, and 43 per cent believe exports will comprise a greater part of their revenue in 2015.

Europe continues to be the largest market for exports from UK SMEs, however, the biggest opportunity for growth lies further east, in China, according to 29 per cent of SMEs surveyed.

“China represents the biggest export growth opportunity for UK SMEs. However, Europe is consistently regarded as the largest trade market, both for UK importers and exporters, and this should not be ignored,” said Mr Crivelli.

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