FedEx Express: UK Export Epicentres Report
The UK’s export marketplace has seen significant growth since the government announced a pledge to double the country’s export value, with the aim of reaching the £1 trillion mark, by 2020. In order to reach this ambitious target, several efforts have been made to help businesses secure their trade in fast-growing, emerging economies. Making the opportunities for British small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to “go global” even more feasible, it seems additional support is still required.
The release of the UK Export Epicentres Report by FedEx Express comes at a time when confidence in the international capabilities of UK firms is being increasingly recognised. The purpose of the report is to understand the extent to which this confidence is reflected in the regional SME community, using exclusive research to gain a deeper insight into exporting behaviour on a local level.
The study has produced some fascinating findings, revealing a number of regional cities that are noticeably bucking the trend when it comes to global connectivity. Through critical assessment of perceived image, reputation and geographical location of 26 cities across the UK, the study serves to paint a more vivid picture of the regional factors that come into play when trading overseas. With the influence and impact of “Brand Britain” our report aims to ensure British SMEs are given the best possible platform and support to succeed, helping to drive our economy forward.
Vice president Northern Europe operations
 Guardian, 17 January 2014
The UK Export Epicentres Report by FedEx Express canvasses the current behaviour and opinions of over 2,500 small to medium sized enterprises across the UK. Some of the key findings are as follows:
Q. What do current export rates look like in cities across the UK?
- The percentage of SMEs exporting abroad is firmly in the majority, varying from 66 - 86% across the 26 cities surveyed.
- Bradford tops the table with an exporting rate of 86%, meaning the West Yorkshire city has the highest percentage of SMEs exporting anywhere in the UK.
- In terms of average monthly export sales, Portsmouth has a sizeable lead ahead of other UK cities, recording £1.95m per annum in export sales. Derby recorded the highest SME export growth rates over the last 12 months.
Q. Where do UK SMEs export to?
- Almost two thirds of exporting SMEs chose to enter a European country first when beginning their export journey.
- Despite the US/Canada commonly being seen as a popular export market, just under a quarter (22%) of SMEs currently trade here.
- The top three cities most likely to export to non-European markets are Aberdeen (41%), Norwich (39%) and Cambridge (36%).
Q. What impact does a city’s geographical location have on international trade?
- 80% of SMEs who export believe that being a British brand gives them a competitive edge when it comes to exporting, rising to 90% of SMEs in Southampton, 88% in Portsmouth and 86% in Birmingham.
- However, three cities were three times more likely than average to say their geographical location was a hindrance on international trade – Newcastle (16%), Hull (14%) and Norwich (13%).
- Two thirds of SMEs view their city’s industrial heritage as a positive, peaking in Hull (81%), Glasgow and Oxford (both 79%).
Q. Does the future look bright for UK exports?
- 94% of SMEs feel optimistic about the year ahead for their business with 8 in 10 believing their export sales will increase again over the next 12 months.
- UK SMEs are broadly aware of the benefits of exporting, with 63% recording an improvement in financial performance, 4 in 10 having employed more staff and just over a quarter are now able to compete with larger players.
- Cities where this help is most needed include Aberdeen (55% require additional support), Hull (50%) and Nottingham (47%).
EXTENDED RESULTS AND DATA
|Exporting Rates by City||% of SMEs||Exporting Value by City||GBP (per month)|
|Leeds, London, Manchester, Southampton||81||Norwich||94,733|
|Bristol, Derby, Portsmouth, Plymouth||75||Leicester||53,543|
|Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Norwich, Nottingham||72||London||50,424|
|Coventry||67||Exports Outside of Europe||% of SMEs|
|Reasons for Choosing First Market to Enter||% of SMEs||Derby||35|
|Sharing a common language||51||Oxford||33|
|Least complicated market to enter||38|
|Largest untapped market to enter||28||Sales Derived from Exports||% of sales|
|Links with family / ancestry||25||Norwich, Oxford||39|
|Witnessed other businesses succeeding there||24||London, Leicester||37|
|SMEs who Consider Location a Positive Factor when Exporting||% of SMEs||Key Benefits of Exporting||% of SMEs|
|British SMEs||79||Improved our financial performance||63|
|Oxford||89||Helped us to employ more people||40|
|Birmingham||86||Encouraged us to develop new products and services||37|
|London||85||Helped us to compete with larger businesses||26|
|Southampton||85||Provided new opportunities for talented staff||23|
|Improved staff retention levels||17|
|Highest Level of Optimism for 2015||% SMEs||Enabled us to open new premises / operations overseas||11|
- FedEx Express: UK Export Epicentres Report
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