UK businesses ‘bullish’ over international growth ambitions, according to HSBC

HSBC UK’s annual Going Global for Growth Report on international businesses in the UK finds they are significantly more optimistic about their growth prospects over the next 12 months than their domestic only competitors.

The research found 87 per cent of international businesses are looking to grow over the next year, with 33 per cent looking to grow significantly. This compares with 66 per cent of domestic-only businesses, where just 16 per cent of domestic businesses report looking to grow significantly.

The Report shows size isn’t a factor when it comes to international growth expectations, with 85 per cent of SMEs and 90 per cent of corporates who trade internationally expecting to grow over the next year.

The Going Global for Growth Report survey discovered manufacturing companies are most likely to operate in international markets, with 79 per cent currently doing so. Manufacturing and IT and telecoms are the sectors most likely to be planning further international expansion (70 per cent), compared to an average across all sectors of 43 per cent.

However, IT and telecoms are the most bullish over their future growth plans, with 41 per cent looking to grow significantly, compared to an average of 23 per cent across all sectors.

Among growth-focused international businesses there is a common digital thread, with 44 per cent saying they are now making more use of digital services to navigate the challenges they are facing, and are reliant on tech for sales and delivery (66 per cent) and for communication and data analysis (63 per cent).

Among businesses who are already operating internationally, the top three challenges to growth they face next year are: the UK economy (35 per cent), the international economic climate (29 per cent), and the cost of doing business overseas (e.g. shipping and freight costs (27 per cent).

Stuart Tait, Head of Commercial Banking at HSBC UK, commented: “The dynamism of the UK’s international trade activity is integral to the future health and growth of the domestic economy.

“We’re seeing more firms in the UK looking to trade internationally because doing so can open up new dimensions of possibility that provide the potential to grow faster and mitigate challenges at home.”

Mainland Europe (85 per cent) is far and away the most popular market to trade with for international businesses who are looking to expand, ahead of North America (63 per cent). However, there are now a significant proportion of firms trading with markets to the East, including ASEAN (35 per cent), China (34 per cent), and India (28 per cent).

By Matthew Neville – Senior Correspondent, Bdaily

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