British exports hit record high of £639bn

Despite a rocky political environment, latest statistics show UK exports hit a record-breaking high of £639.9bn in the 2018/19 financial year.

Total UK exports grew at a rate of 3.0% - image courtesy of Depositphotos.
Total UK exports grew at a rate of 3.0% – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

Total exports grew at a rate of 3% according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), increasing by £18.5bn compared to 2017/18.

British exports have now grown for the past 36 consecutive months. In terms of services, the ONS figures show that this sector saw exports increase by 1.4% to £283.8bn.

Additionally, data published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation (OECD) showed total UK exports grew at 13.8%, faster than Germany (10.5%), France (10.1%) and Italy (11.4%), between 2016 and 2018,

The figures also revealed that UK export growth was faster than the overall rate for the EU (11.9%).

Alongside positive export figures, foreign direct investment (FDI) into the UK is also at a record high.

Data released by the OECD last week showed UK inwards investment stock in 2018 increased by 5% to £1,400bn. The figures confirm the UK as the leading destination for FDI in Europe, and the third most significant in the world, according to the government.

Export sector focus: Space

Britain has a wealth of expertise in the manufacture and design of space technologies to leverage. So much so, that British space exports are set to grow to £25bn in the next decade, contributing up to 60% of the UK’s space sector revenue by 2030.

In 2018, UK exports of space components and services rose to more than £280m, according to government figures.

Britain has significant capabilities in the sector, building major parts for one in four of the world’s commercial telecommunications satellites.

UK export case study: Heald Ltd

Heald Ltd protects embassies, airports, shopping centres and vulnerable pedestrianised areas around the world. Turnover grew by nearly two-thirds in 2017-18, with 70% of their products being exported.

Managing director at Heald, Debbie Heald MBE gives her advice on how to reach export excellence as an SME:

70% of Heald's products are exported - image courtesy of Heald Ltd.
70% of Heald’s products are exported – image courtesy of Heald Ltd.

1) Be clear about what it is that you are looking to achieve. This will enable you to identify where you need to invest your resources, and the routes you need to take to get there.

2) Communicating your unique business offer is vital. A defined marketing strategy will enable you to best understand the approach you need to take to raise awareness of your organisation and enhance its credibility, especially if you are in a crowded marketplace.

3) Ultimately – to bring in the results – you must have a great team in place. Make sure they are clear on what you are looking to achieve and empower them to play a key role in that journey.

Read all of Debbie’s advice here.

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