UPS study – UK businesses bullish about exports

A survey of 10,000 companies in seven countries around the EU by UPS suggests that UK small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are bullish about their prospects of exporting more goods in the next 12 months. 90% of SMEs across Europe are looking toward a good year of exports next year.

Exports are seen as a sign of growing revenues and business in the eyes of SMEs according to the survey, which focused on businesses in the UK, Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Poland.

SMEs in the UK have one of the strongest outlooks for exports in Europe, with 61% expecting greater exports in the next year and only 11% expecting fewer. Online commerce is one of the strongest drivers of this, with e-commerce being a significant growth market. UK businesses’ exports seem to be driven by demand, with customers from abroad asking them to export, as opposed to the SMEs pitching to new clients.

SMEs seem to hold back from exporting goods to new markets for fear of bureaucracy and customs charges associated with exporting. President of UPS Europe Cindy Miller said of this phenomenon, “Perceived and real export barriers are holding many SMEs back until customers contact them for an export order. European SMEs are benefiting from export opportunities, especially in times of booming e-commerce.”


The Netherlands saw the greatest amount of online linked exports, with 74% dealing with clients via e-commerce platforms. The UK was second in this survey, with 71% of SMEs exports being via e-commerce.

E-commerce and globalisation are key drivers of the economy in Europe, and with domestic markets doing very well, exporting is a natural next step to continually expand business. International trade treaties are opening up markets beyond traditional partners such as European countries and the US, and exports are set to grow rapidly in the region as a result.

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