Export sales treble

Small and medium-sized businesses in the UK took advantage of a record-low pound to treble their export sales in the second half of last year, with exports jumping by 34 per cent year-on-year between July and December.

According to online payments business, PayPal, the very weak pound made products sold in the country cheaper for foreign buyers and not only were more goods sold but there was also a 13 per cent rise in the amount spent per transaction over the period.

The small firms that were able to take best advantage from the situation were the ones who had already adapted their online stores, for example by letting customers browse their sites in their on language and pay in their own currency.

The US was the UK’s top export market in the second half of last year, followed by Germany, Australia France and Italy. Customers from these countries were most attracted to new and exclusive products.

Meanwhile, of the goods sold, fashion and sports represented the biggest growth markets, where there was a whopping 49 per cent year-on-year sales increase to international shoppers.

However, these were not the only sectors enjoying healthy exports in 2016; according to new figures from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), British beer exports rose by 6 per cent in the year, making beer the UK’s third most valuable food.

In fact, exports of food and drink as a whole grew by 10.5 per cent in 2016 to a record figure of more than £20bn, as UK manufacturers responded to rapid growth in demand for quality produce.

Excluding alcohol, the top three export categories in the sector remained chocolate, salmon and cheese. Amazingly, sales of salmon to Germany rose by an astonishing 98.9 per cent.

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