Small Businesses Increase Trade Outside of Europe to Drive Growth

UK small and medium enterprises “taking advantage of benefits of trading internationally” by expanding into Asia and North America

Small Businesses Increase Trade Outside of Europe to Drive Growth

Britain’s small and medium enterprises have increased their exports and imports outside of Europe, with many looking to Asia and North America for growth, according to the latest quarterly Western Union International Trade Monitor (ITM) report.

China, India, America and Canada were named as top import and export markets for small businesses with less than 50% of small firms listing Europe as a primary import market – a drop from 78% in 2012.

The survey, which featured over a 1,000 small and medium exporters and importers, found that China was now a top import and export market. 23% of business owners listed it as a key export market and 44% of respondents said China was now their primary import market – an increase of 30% from 2014.

Small business trading activity in North America has also increased; 35% of business owners ranked the USA and Canada as key import and export markets – listed at 35% and 23% respectively. 19% of businesses surveyed also listed India as a key import market, up from 9% in 2012.

Businesses are also increasingly optimistic about trade prospects with 37% forecasting overseas expansion – up 6% on September.

The ITM report concluded that the findings indicate a “wider trend for small and medium enterprises to look beyond Europe and take advantage of the benefits of trading internationally”.

Tony Crivelli, UK managing director of Western Union Business Solutions, commented:

“The European economy has been incredibly volatile in recent months as the possibility of a Grexit and even a Brexit dominate the headlines. Meanwhile Asia and North America have continued to grow as key trading partners and they are quickly catching up to their European counterpart.

“Despite this volatility, the ITM shows that British small and medium enterprises are optimistic about the economy and many are forecasting growth in international markets this year. In fact, the outlook is very positive for the second half of 2015.”

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