Skip to main content


SMEs are ready to go global but need a little help to export

The message has been received loud and clear: UK SMEs want to export more and expand their businesses with sales to millions of customers globally. They are ready and willing to sell and ship to an increasingly wide range of countries, but they would just like a little help. 

They want the UK government to offer more country specific exporting information that has an explicit focus on SMEs, with a multi-thousand pound focus, rather than revenues that are counted in the millions. It's also obvious that service providers in the international shipping, logistics and returns sector could be doing more to help smaller enterprises concentration on what they do best: create fabulous British products - food and drink, home and garden, fashion and health and wellbeing, in particular - and keep their customers satisfied. 

With the aim of better understanding how export challenges are impacting the SME community, alongside Enterprise Nation, we carried out industry research with nearly 1,000 SMEs from across the UK and here's what we found.

Highlights from our findings

SMEs are exporters

SMEs are exporters


of SMEs are willing to export or want to export more


are already exporting

Logistics challenges

Logistics challenges


have experienced problems with slow or expensive shipping services


have had consignments lost or damaged in transit

UK government support

UK government support


want tools to streamline duties and customs


would like more country specific market information

Exports are social

Exports are social


use social media to market their products overseas

Brexit impact

Brexit impact


of SMEs are selling more outside the EU

Delivering the goods: the global ambition of the UK's entrepreneurs

This joint report delivered by GS1 UK and Enterprise Nation explores the current exporting environment for UK SMEs within the current context of an ongoing global pandemic, considering the impacts of Brexit and the EU free trade agreement and subsequent government trade negotiations with global nations. Download below to review the full insights and our recommendations. 

Download the full insights here



Useful resources