Exporting products and services abroad is usually the next step for SMEs looking to expand. The international market has a sea of business opportunities awaiting in many different industries. But what are the top export destinations for UK firms?

According to new research from Barclays Business, most British exports go to the US, with 55% of small and medium companies selling goods on American shores. Also in the top ten list of countries receiving the highest amount of UK exports are: France, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, Canada, Belgium, Sweden and Australia.

Steve Childs, Head of International at Barclays Business, said: “Thinking about spreading your business’s wings to explore overseas trading opportunities can seem a daunting task on top of usual day to day responsibilities involved in running a business.

“But the case for exporting is strong– the growth opportunities speak for themselves. It is important to remember that there are a lot of resources that SMEs can access in the early stages of being helped on their international journey.”

It was also revealed that around a quarter of smaller businesses’ turnover comes from overseas trade, while one in five firms that didn’t currently export had plans to do so in the future.

In terms of continents, the top export destination is Europe, followed by the US in second place and Asia and the Middle East in joint third place.

The most useful tools for UK exporting

Having a website was ranked by SMEs as being the most helpful factor in achieving success with overseas trading.

This was followed by the ability to accept online payments, having an agent on the ground, social media and getting bespoke advice from experts in the field.