Business development · 18 July 2016

Vast majority of small exporters dependent on EU market

Destination Export
Many exports to Europe go via Le Havre in France
As the new cabinet settle down to work on a smooth Brexit, research has revealed that 93 per cent of small British exporters depend on Europe for business.

The new report from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) entitled: Destination Export: The small business export landscape? also highlighted that 20 out of the 30 most popular export destinations for small British firms are in the EU or European Economic Area (EEA).

More than one-in-five British small business owners sell abroad, and the average small exporter earns 35 per cent of their turnover from such activities, the research also revealed.

the FSB has clearly and consistently called for clarity on what the UK’s exit from the EU means for business, with particular emphasis on access to the single market and the free movement of people and trade, said policy director Martin McTague.

the majority of FSB members export to the single market with provides access to 500 million potential consumers, more than 26m businesses and is worth around 9tn.

The research also shed light on the benefits exporting brings to small firm owners, with 80 per cent of those surveyed of the belief that doing so gives them access to more customers, and almost three-quarters citing increased turnover as a key advantage of selling abroad. Increased profitability and more credibility were also cited as important perks.

The study’s insight into non-EU export destinations also suggested which markets might be key priorities for Liam Fox in his new role as trade minister with 58 per cent selling to the US and 45 per cent to Australia, whose prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has reportedly offered the UK a free trade deal.



Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics as well as running a tutoring company.

Business development