Exports from UK SMEs have exceeded their import volumes, having a positive impact on narrowing the UK trade deficit, according to research published by FedEx Express.
Findings in the FedEx Great British Export Report revealed that the average SME exports £553,000 a year to Europe and imports £535,000 equating to an average net surplus of £18,000; while the average SME globally exports £714,000 per annum but imports just £410,000, an average net surplus of £304,000.
Over the last year, the number of SMEs exporting at least 20 shipments per month to Europe has risen to 69 per cent, compared with 40 per cent in 2014, in turn last year just 43 per cent of exports to Europe valued more than £5,000, a figure which as risen to 64 per cent this year.
Exports outside of Europe have also grown, year-on-year from 37 per cent to 57 per cent. However, smaller business noted challenges in entering markets in Australia, China and the US, and called for increase support in facilitating this.
Trevor Hoyle, vice president, Northern Europe operations, FedEx Express, said: “British SMEs are a driving force in improving the economy. The report shows that SMEs recognise how lucrative exporting can be for their business and as result more are going global, actively helping to reduce the deficit.”
More than half of all British SMEs currently export, and 72 per cent believe their international revenues will increase in five years.
“Exporting outside of Europe can be even more lucrative, but many businesses are yet to realise this, or are still reluctant to go too far out of their comfort zone,” added Hoyle. “But these are the markets of the future, and those who act now stand to make the biggest gains. Ensuring our businesses have access to the right support and expertise is absolutely crucial for to helping them to grow and prosper.”