A recent report conducted by Alibaba Group UK and the Institute of Export and International Trade has shown that the majority of fashion businesses in the UK have recognized exporting as a significant factor in their success. The study, which surveyed 3,000 fashion firms in the country, discovered that 70% of these businesses are currently engaged in exporting. Furthermore, an impressive 72% of them anticipate an increase in their export sales in the coming year.

The report also emphasized the positive impact that exporting has had on these fashion businesses. An astounding 81% of companies stated that exporting has directly contributed to a boost in their revenue. Additionally, 81% believe that it has strengthened their overall business, while 79% felt that it had fueled innovation within their companies. Exporting has also resulted in an increase in job opportunities, with 81% of the businesses surveyed reporting a rise in their headcount. Furthermore, 77% of them believed that exporting has alleviated some of the challenges associated with conducting business solely in the UK.

According to the survey respondents, the North American market was considered to present the greatest opportunity for fashion businesses, with 35% of companies identifying it as their target market. Surprisingly, despite the ongoing Brexit implications, many fashion businesses still see potential in the European Union market, with one-third of businesses viewing it as the most promising market for exports.

However, the report also highlighted the various obstacles faced by fashion businesses when venturing into the export market. The top five challenges listed were supply chain and logistical issues, increased paperwork and red tape, lack of cultural awareness or familiarity with overseas markets, lack of access to suitable export finance, and lack of demand for products in the international market.

To overcome these obstacles and achieve growth on an international scale, 69% of surveyed businesses utilize online marketplaces to enhance their export sales. Interestingly, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, 33% of businesses began working with marketplaces during this period. Additionally, 80% of companies stated that exporting had driven digital transformation within their operations.

Overall, this report highlights the ambitious nature of UK fashion businesses aiming to expand internationally through exporting. Despite the challenges faced, these businesses are embracing opportunities in both traditional and online markets, recognizing the vital role that exporting plays in their growth strategies. With the appropriate support and resources, the fashion sector in the UK has the potential to thrive on the global stage.

Useful links:
The Institute of Export and International Trade
Alibaba Group UK