Business confidence high for SMEs in 2020 and beyond

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Business confidence is high as seven in ten UK SME online retailers are confident that their sales will increase in 2020, according to a study commissioned by Royal Mail and they’re also positive in the outlook for the next five years. With the UK now sitting out meetings with the EU and due to leave in a few days time, this could be viewed as an uncertain time for businesses. With no MEPs and yet still subject to EU regulations (including any new ones) for the rest of 2020 and no clear idea of what trading relationship we’ll have in 2021, you could be forgiven for having some uncertainty. But says Royal Mail, SMEs seem buoyant and positive – does that match your personal outlook for your business?

Among the main reasons for business confidence according to Royal Mail is that SMEs plan to increase advertising/marketing spend (48%) and make changes to improve the customer experience (36%).

79% of these retailers rate the prospects for business as good or very good over the next five years. With global reach Royal Mail is well placed to observe trends across the industry.

The biggest perceived challenges for UK SME online retailers in 2019 was online competition, economic uncertainty in the UK and pricing goods competitively. However, 62% of retailers experienced an uplift in sales last year, compared to the previous year.

UK SME online retailers are increasingly looking overseas to increase their sales. The study also found two-thirds of UK SME online retailers currently sell overseas. These retailers sell the most to Europe, USA, Asia and the Middle East.

In the coming year, 62% of online retailers intend to increase their international sales revenue. Key plans for increasing international sales revenue include: simplifying the sales/ordering/delivery and payment process (33%), selling more to the markets they already sell to (28%) and targeting new markets and countries (21%).

“As we enter a new decade, the level of business confidence is promising for 2020 and the years beyond. Royal Mail already supports a wide range of retail businesses, providing them with the tools they need to succeed in the UK and across the globe. We look forward to working with even more of these great businesses this year.”
– Shane O’ Riordain, Managing Director of Marketing, Regulation And Corporate Affairs, Royal Mail


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