New research finds Yorkshire is UK hotspot for global export

Yorkshire is one of the top exporters of goods from the UK, according to new research released today from Alibaba Group.

The study of more than 2,000 businesses across the UK found that 83% of Yorkshire businesses surveyed are currently exporting overseas, more than anywhere else in the Northern Powerhouse and higher than the national average of 77%. When looking at export sales, over a third (36%) of businesses surveyed were focused on B2C, compared to 29% whose exports were primarily B2B.

Business confidence is high, as 98% of businesses surveyed based in Yorkshire consider exporting overseas to be a viable opportunity and more than three quarters (83%) of businesses that currently export say that they expect their export sales to increase in the next year.

Yorkshire firms surveyed were also the least likely to be concerned about challenges of cross-border trade, polling just 18%, compared to other regions surveyed, such as the East Midlands (46%) and the South-West of England (32%).

95% of Yorkshire businesses surveyed are working with online marketplaces to boost their export sales, with 87% saying it’s a key part of their export strategy. Just under half (48%) are conducting more international sales online because it is more cost-effective, while 44% have made the switch because it is more efficient. These findings would suggest that online marketplaces are lowering the potential barriers to export.

The top destinations which present the biggest export opportunities for Yorkshire businesses surveyed include North America (45%), the Middle East (29%) and Africa (24%).

Roland Palmer, General Manager of UK, Nordics & The Netherlands, Alibaba Group, comments: “Our research suggests that local Yorkshire companies are seizing the enormous global export opportunities which exist across the world. Nearly 100% of businesses in the region see exporting overseas as a viable opportunity, and Yorkshire’s high export figures mean it is truly leading the way in thinking global for growth. The quality and heritage of Yorkshire-made goods is also clearly a factor in the region’s export success.

“By trading internationally, even small businesses are able to expand, creating more job opportunities and economic growth. Once a business starts to export, they realise the benefits outweigh the perceived barriers and they grow in confidence. We’re focused on helping businesses of all sizes on their export journey.”

In terms of sector trends, fashion is the most popular sector amongst surveyed businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber, with 38% who are currently exporting, exporting fashion goods. This is followed by toys at 21%, and food and drink at 19%.

Shalini Khemka CBE, Founder and Chief Executive, E2E, said: “The economic instability brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted several supply chain flaws and cast doubt on globalisation. As a result, business owners worldwide reconsidered their organisations’ flaws, vulnerabilities, and innovative processes.

“There is one factor that is usually overseen when it comes to successful importers and exporters: meaningful connections and advice. We’ve made it our mission to support entrepreneurs internationalising their businesses.”

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