A survey has revealed that small and medium-sized businesses in the UK are outperforming their European counterparts when it comes to exporting to countries outside of the EU.

According to this research conducted by global shipment and logistics company UPS, UK SMEs are achieving a greater increase in turnover than other leading European nations such as Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Belgium and the Netherlands.

More than 8,000 SME leaders across the major European markets were questioned as part of this survey. Overall, UK small businesses were found to be 29% more successful than the other countries when exporting outside the EU.

The figures also showed that British SMEs are around 26% more successful when exporting within the EU as well.

The US is the top destination for international exports from the UK, followed by other English-speaking countries such as Australia and Canada.

Barriers restricting SME exports

Despite these statistics, smaller businesses are still facing a variety of restrictions when it comes to exporting goods internationally. Shipping costs, administrative burdens and cultural/language barriers were identified as some of limitations affecting firms in the UK and other EU nations.

Complicated regulations and the fear that goods would be lost or damaged during long journeys were other key concerns highlighted.

George Willis, Managing Director of UPS UK, Ireland and the Nordics, believes businesses in the UK can sometimes have an ‘island mentality’ preventing them from reaching out to international markets and embracing an array of opportunities.

He said: “UK SMEs have to strike out beyond the island to expand their customer base and grow their businesses.”