Export containers

QuoteSearcher has commissioned a YouGov survey of 618 SME decision makers in order to investigate how they feel about exporting and trade opportunities both within the EU and internationally.

Below are some of the key learnings we have pulled from our data, which includes information on how SME decision makers perceive the EU, whether worldwide exports are important to such businesses and whether the government's Exporting is Great campaign is having the desired effect.

Europe is viewed as the most profitable region for SMEs to do business with.

64% of respondents cited Europe as the most profitable potential partner, with 31% also saying that the EU offers 'a lot' of trade opportunity. Respondents also stated that North America and Asia Pacific could also be profitable trading regions for SMEs, rated by 50% and 48% of respondents respectively.

Map of profitable export areas

30% of SMEs feel that regulatory and/or legal issues are the biggest barriers to exporting abroad.

The second most popular answer amongst SME decision makers as to why they may struggle to export their products and/or services was 'the cost of exports (e.g. tax, administration fees etc.)' at 17%. Only 2% cited 'cultural differences' as a barrier.

Regulation and legal barriers graph

The Goverment's "Exporting is Great" campaign to promote trade isn't doing so great.

Just 7% of businesses are likely to take part in the campaign, with 69% of respondents saying they had never heard of the campaign before. That said, awareness of the value of exporting worldwide is already high, with 78% of SMEs saying that exporting worldwide is either 'fairly' or 'very' important.

Exporting is Great graph

23% of respondents who work in the IT & Telecoms industry and 19% of respondents who work in the Media/Marketing industry think that 'language barriers' is the biggest barrier to exporting abroad.

Only 12% of those from the Construction industry and 9% of those from the Manufacturing industry had the same response. Meanwhile no-one working in the Legal, Medical and Health or Real Estate industries said 'language barriers' were an issue.

Language barriers graph

20% of decision makers from Small Enterprises said they ‘don’t know’ how much, if any, trade opportunity the EU currently offers UK-based SMEs.

In comparison, only 8% of medium-sized enterprises had the same answer. Furthermore, 39% of respondents from medium-sized enterprises said the EU offers 'a lot' of trade opportunity compared to 29% of those from small-sized enterprises.

Small vs medium enterprises graph

Male and female SME decision makers have differing opinions on the biggest barriers to exporting their products and/or services abroad.

25% of female respondents said that the 'cost of exports' was the biggest barrier to exporting their products and/or services abroad compared to just 13% of male respondents. On the other hand, 31% of males were more concerned with legal/regulation issues compared to just 25% of women.

Gender graph