The majority of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) see growth opportunities internationally and expect to derive up to 50 percent of their revenues internationally in five years’ time. This is one of the main findings of an in-depth study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) on behalf of DHL Express. However, the survey of 480 SME executives and experts from business lobbying groups around the world also reveals that severe obstacles still remain for smaller businesses with global aspirations.

International trade is seen as vital to long-term success by SMEs, but challenges, such as political instability, cultural factors and inadequate infrastructure, still cause concern and often outweigh the raw growth potential of overseas markets, decision makers say. The survey also shows a gap in international activity between SMEs in developed and developing markets: nearly 69 percent of the G7 respondents currently trade internationally whereas only 46 percent of the BRICM respondents do.

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