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Latest survey reveals export growth remains stagnant

Updated: May 3, 2022

The British Chambers of Commerce Quarterly Trade Confidence Outlook survey, which had over 2,700 British exporters responding between February and March of this year, shows export sales have been largely stagnant for the past year.

  • Proportion of UK exporters reporting increased export sales (29%) was largely unchanged for the 4th quarter running

  • Proportion reporting decreased sales historically high at 25%, also little changed since 1 year ago in Q1 2021

  • Exporters more likely than non-exporters to expect increases to their prices in coming months.

Whilst the data showed that manufacturers were more likely to report increased export sales than either business to business service firms (such as lawyers or accountants) or business to consumer service firms (like online clothing stores).

In past 3 months export sales have

Exporting Manufacturers

Exporting B2B Services

Exporting B2C Services





Remain Consistent








On the other hand, B2B Service exporters were more likely, compared to the exporting manufacturers or B2C service exporters, that profitability would increase over the next 12 months.

Recent regional stats from HMRC related to the export and import of goods, showed that whilst 2021 registered a c.7% increase compared to 2020, the UK was not yet at pre-pandemic levels. The North West region showed a significant bounce back throughout 2021 reaching just over £28bn, above what the region closed back in 2019.

Exporters are showing resilience having to contend with a pandemic and Brexit, however, growth is still behind what would have expected. Whilst we have not yet seen stats for the first quarter of 2022, from the Chamber's perspective we are seeing the recovery has slowed down as world trade continues to be affected by a number of global issues.

Responding to the findings, Head of Trade Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, William Bain said:

“This data confirms our concerns – that for the last year there was a broadly flat picture for UK exports. This is in contrast with the performance of our near neighbours, with Germany’s exports both within and outside the Single Market steaming ahead by double digit margins and with trade losses from the pandemic already effectively recovered.

“UK exporters are facing the headwinds of higher red tape costs from trading with the EU, raised raw material pressures, and ongoing issues in global shipping markets. If we are to realise the aspirations of the UK Government’s Export Strategy then 2022 has to be the year where these structural factors holding back our exporters are addressed.

“Sustained export growth should be powering our economic recovery from the pandemic. Chambers and their members are already working hard to increase exports but need more substantive measures from Government now.”

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Sources: British Chambers of Commerce, HMRC

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