Firms that trade cross-border twice as likely to grow

With cross-border trade reaching €7.6bn, can you afford not to export?

InterTradeIreland’s latest Business Monitor survey (Q2 2022) reveals companies that export cross border are outperforming companies that do not, with 41% enjoying rapid to moderate expansion.

This is almost double compared to non-cross border traders (21%).

“Despite the challenges SMEs face, on the whole, cross-border trade remains remarkably robust ”

Indeed, over three quarters of cross border traders (78%) describe themselves as profitable compared to 51% of firms that do not sell into the opposite jurisdiction.

Embrace your export potential

“Despite the challenges SMEs face, on the whole, cross-border trade remains remarkably robust with a higher percentage of companies who export cross border reporting profitability, growth and increased sales compared to their non-cross-border trading counterparts,” Martin Robinson, InterTradeIreland’s Director of Strategy explained.

“InterTradeIreland helps businesses identify cross-border opportunities and to explore their export potential through programmes such as Elevate and Acumen and have seen first-hand how a focus on reaching new markets can help enhance productivity and sales.

“Recent data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) shows that cross-border trade in goods reached €7.65bn in 2021 and continues to increase. In January-May 2022, Irish import trade with Northern Ireland has risen by another €356m (23%) and Irish exports to Northern Ireland have risen by €586m (42%), compared to the same period in 2021.”

On the whole, the latest figures from InterTradeIreland’s Business Monitor show that despite the unprecedented impact of rising costs, business performance overall is holding steady for now, with 83% of companies across the island of Ireland in stable or growth mode, on a par with last quarter’s results (85%). 

There is a note of caution however for the leisure, hotel and catering sector which has experienced a more challenging time than most, with 42% now experiencing a drop in sales compared to 23% last quarter. 

As expected, rising costs dominate business challenges once again as energy prices (86%) and overheads (83%) continue to be the top two issues impacting businesses, as they have been over the past six months.

Reassuringly the impact of Brexit (43%) and Covid-19 (39%) has declined as companies continue to adapt. However, almost half of businesses (46%) now cite a difficulty in recruitment of appropriate skills as a key issue. 

“As skills challenges become a significant issue, we are starting to see companies look at different ways to tackle shortages,” said Robinson. “35% for example have increased advertising while 29% are retraining in-house. Innovation through exploiting digital technology is another area that could help firms create efficiencies.

“Our recently launched Business Solutions voucher provides support to businesses to explore the most effective ways of overcoming these ever-rising challenges.”

Main image: Martin Robinson, InterTradeIreland director of Strategy
John Kennedy
Award-winning editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.