Marketing biggest hurdle to exporting

A lack of international marketing knowledge is the primary reason British businesses don’t export, research finds.

While almost half (43 per cent) of non-exporting businesses report that they could increase revenue from exporting their products, the overwhelming majority (84 per cent) have no plans to begin selling abroad, research from UK Trade and Investment shows.

The “Barriers to Export” study, which has been commissioned in partnership with Parcelforce Worldwide and surveyed 513 businesses, reveals the reasons why businesses choose not to pursue international operations.

Of the 260 non-exporting business owners surveyed, more than half (53 per cent) say they do not have the on-the-ground resources or marketing experience needed to make exporting effective. Other reasons include: the perception that their goods are unsuitable for export (35 per cent); a lack of knowledge of which export markets to target (32 per cent); and the belief exporting would be prohibitively expensive (24 per cent).

In contrast, however, the research finds that of the 253 businesses which export, almost half (46 per cent) report at least 40 per cent of their revenue is from their international operations, one third of which have only started exporting in the past 12 months.

Susan Haird, acting chief executive of UK Trade and Investment, comments, ‘There are so many opportunities and sources of support to help UK companies to gain an overseas foothold. There are particularly exciting opportunities in emerging economies and I would encourage businesses of all sizes to think globally rather than just to more traditional export markets like Europe and the US.’

Nick Britton

Nick Britton

Nick was the Managing Editor for when it was owned by Vitesse Media, before moving on to become Head of Investment Group and Editor at What Investment and thence to Head of Intermediary...

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