Small businesses targeting emerging markets, FedEx study shows

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FedEx Express announcesd the findings of a new study it has sponsored with the Economist Intelligence Unit, “New horizons: Europe’s small and medium-sized companies look to emerging markets for growth,” surveying the views of more than 600 European SME executives.

The study reveals how small- and medium-sized enterprises are looking to emerging markets for rapid revenue growth as economic recovery in Europe remains slow. With many SME executives noting the oversubscribed and congested nature of the European marketplace, emerging markets have been fertile ground for SMEs seeking above-average returns.

Almost 90 percent of the European SMEs surveyed already are doing business with emerging markets, and more than half expect to increase their involvement in 2011 and 2012. “Globalization, e-commerce and free trade has opened up new markets to SMEs across the EMEA region,” says David Binks, FedEx senior vice president, operations, Europe.

Furthermore, more than half (55 percent) of the SMEs believe that the traditional BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China will be crucial to their business in the coming year, with nearly half (48 precent) of the SMEs singling out Brazil for improved perceptions of the country, bolstered by a smooth transition of political power and better infrastructure in the runup to major sporting events.

“Emerging markets are seen as crucial to the growth strategy of many European SMEs,” says Jason Sumner, senior editor at the EIU and editor of the report. “And SME executives believe they have some advantages when compared with larger rivals. They can respond more quickly to changing conditions, have closer relationships with customers and can better target niche markets.”