Thousands of UK businesses missing out on opportunities to export

news release

Thousands of UK businesses missing out on opportunities to export

Experian models anatomy of an exporting company

Nottingham, 18 October 2013 — Research from Experian, the global information services company, today reveals the towns and industries in the UK where businesses have the right characteristics to export, yet are not doing so and, therefore, not fulfilling their full potential.

Experian analysed over 40,000 UK companies currently exporting to profile their components and better understand what an exporting business looks like. The key characteristics identified include:

  • more than 20 employees;
  • multiple locations and significant geographical coverage of the UK market;
  • a strong commercial credit rating;
  • employing a large, sophisticated auditor / accountant.

This model was then mapped across the entire UK business population to uncover which companies have many of the identified components and, therefore, have the potential to export, but are not reporting any export turnover.

The analysis revealed that six of the top ten locations where the biggest percentage of businesses matching the model of an exporting company were based in Scotland.  Aberdeen has the highest proportion of businesses in the UK (26.7 per cent) that have a number of the characteristics associated with an exporting company yet don’t file exporting revenue. 

Three of the top ten areas where businesses have a high potential to export are in London.  East Central (EC), West Central (WC) and West (W) have a high level of companies that could export but don’t currently.  

Sectors that lend themselves to export
Manufacturers and wholesalers were identified as sectors that currently export more than others. Despite this, Experian’s analysis identified many more businesses within these sectors that are not exporting but have significant potential to do so.  In particular, this includes firms that manufacture electrical equipment where almost half of the business population (44.5 per cent) do not file any export activity yet have the components of a successful exporter. Other industries include manufacturers of household and office equipment and food and textiles.

Max Firth, UK Managing Director for Experian’s Business Information Services division, said: “Trading internationally contributes significantly to business and economic growth for specific regions and industries across the UK. When you consider that of the known exporting population, the average amount of turnover attributed to exporting is approximately 50 per cent, the companies identified could potentially double their income capacity by exporting.  

“As is the case in the UK, Experian can help business to judge whether a potential international client presents a high risk very easily by providing access to global business information.  We can help to unlock enormous exporting opportunities by bringing a greater degree of certainty to business of every size that is contemplating doing business across borders.”

Top ten towns and cities


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Natalie Fox
PR Manager
T: 44 (0) 115 992 2645 | M: 44 (0) 7971 709274

About Experian
Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients around the world. The Group helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended 31 March 2013 was US$4.7 billion. Experian employs approximately 17,000 people in 40 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.

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