UK fashion SMEs need help to meet demands

Small businesses in the UK fashion industry believe there is a rising demand for British fashion but feel more needs to be done so that they can raise their profiles overseas, finds research.

The research, commissioned by DHL Express, reveals that 65 per cent of UK small fashion businesses expect to see overseas sales figures double in the next two years.

The rise in demand for British fashion overseas, which many attribute to British style icons such as Kate Middleton, could provide growth for more than just the fashion sector.

DHL Express UK and Ireland CEO Phil Couchman comments, ‘The British fashion industry is in a strong position to not only grow its own revenues, but if demand continues, British fashion businesses could be incremental to domestic economic growth overall.’

However, over two-thirds of UK fashion SMEs surveyed say that plans to expand to meet this demand are unlikely in the next two years because more is needed to be done to help businesses grow.

Twenty one per cent of respondents highlight trade missions as the best way to capitalise on the current international markets while 17 per cent believe financial incentives such as tax breaks for exporters are the best route.

Colin McDowell, creative director of Fashion Fringe, remarks, ‘In order to facilitate this demand and, in turn, business growth, British fashion businesses need support to navigate the choppy waters of international trade.’

The research surveys a range of fashion SMEs who all trade internationally and 70 per cent of them identify quality as the main reason international buyers value British fashion products while 28 per cent say it is the value for their money.

Just under half of respondents cite the Unites States as the market they do most business with, but 26 per cent admitted it is also the most challenging market to trade with.

The main problem for the SMEs seems to be custom charges with just under a quarter identifying high or difficult custom charges as the biggest challenge to trading internationally.

Related Topics

International Trade