News in brief: confidence in exporting is growing

News in brief
News in brief

European SMEs’ confidence in exporting is growing

Europe’s smaller companies are bullish about growing their exports in the coming year, according to a survey commissioned by UPS. The UK’s SME exporters are more optimistic than the average, with 42% of companies expecting export volumes to grow and 45% expecting them to hold stable. The report also shows that exporting is strongly associated with higher overall revenue growth for SMEs and that Europe is seeing very rapid adoption of online commerce among SME exporters.

The UK has the highest proportion (61%) of SME exporters reporting higher revenues over the last three years, and almost the lowest proportion (11%) reporting lower revenues. The UK’s SMEs are also the second-most likely to use online channels for exporting (70% of companies) – only the Netherlands has a higher proportion of SMEs exporting online (74%).

“Exporting SMEs in Europe are maturing rapidly,” says UPS Europe president Cindy Miller. “SMEs in Europe are now primarily concerned about more practical issues, such as the physical safety of shipments, concerns that logistics partners can help solve in order to reach international markets.”

London is the sharing economy capital of Europe

New research reveals that the UK is leading the European sharing economy, with more start-ups in the emerging sector headquartered in the UK than any other European country.

The study, conducted by disruptive parking company JustPark, shows the UK is home to 10% of the world’s sharing economy businesses – more than France, Germany and Spain combined. The US remains the global leader in the sector, with over half of all sharing economy companies based there.

London is the sharing economy capital of Europe, with one in twelve of the companies in the global sharing economy based in the UK capital. Worldwide, San Francisco and New York the only cities to have produced more sharing economy start-ups than London.

The research highlights the rapid growth of the sharing economy over the last few years, revealing that more than half of today’s sharing economy companies were founded in 2013 or later. More than 80% of the companies have been founded since the start of 2011.

British firms could be damaging their reputation by paying suppliers late

A new survey by international payments specialist FEXCO Commercial FX Services has revealed British firms could be damaging the reputation of UK Plc by repeatedly paying overseas suppliers late. In a survey of more than 100 CFOs and key decision makers in medium to large UK firms trading overseas, more than a third of respondents (34%) admitted they regularly pay their overseas suppliers after their payment terms. It seems the UK’s late payment culture is not going unnoticed; just under three quarters of survey respondents (73%) added that more overseas suppliers have started asking for payment up front.

FEXCO Commercial FX Services head of dealing David Lamb, commented: “We carried out this research to better understand the payments psychology of UK businesses trading overseas, and it’s clear from this survey that many are getting a reputation among foreign suppliers for being serial late payers. As a result of this, an increasing number of overseas suppliers are asking for payment up front. In that regard, you could say that British businesses are getting their just desserts.

“British firms seem to be paying overseas suppliers late for a number of reasons, from trying to transact at the best time in currency terms to an inclination to pay British suppliers first, which is perceived to be less damaging reputationally. At a time when the Chancellor is saying Britain is open for business, is this really the kind of message British businesses should be giving out?”