Royal Mail SME export survey: 52% SMEs now export

New research from Royal Mail suggests that more SMEs are exporting more goods since 2016, But many are missing out of the profits that can be made from trading abroad.

A survey by Royal Mail showed that 52% SMEs sold to customers outside the UK – compared to 40% in 2016. The remaining 48% show nervousness to International trade, citing reasons such as cost and complexity, market knowledge, and currency conversion risk.

Among the SMEs that do sell internationally, around 25% already sell within the EU and are seeking opportunities to sell outside the EU. A further 13% already sell outside the EU and are making plans to extend their interests in that regard.

Of the SMEs that sell internationally, a quarter already sell within the EU and would like to seek opportunities to sell outside the EU. Another thirteen per cent already sell outside the EU and will be seeking more opportunities to do so.

“Expanding your business overseas might seem like a daunting prospect. But, the reality is that ecommerce is driving global trade,” said Royal Mail spokesperson. “If UK SMEs want to benefit as a result, they need to expand into international markets. Many of the perceived barriers our research has identified can be easily addressed.”

Given that the EU will be likely to be as difficult to trade in as outside the EU after Brexit, removing that comfort blanket may make it more difficult for those who fear exporting to take the leap. However the UK Sterling currency is set to weaken after Brexit and this will make exporting a lot more attractive given the relative low-cost of UK goods to foreign customers. As with all business, risk often reaps rewards.