One factor that has become more challenging since 2022 for these businesses is the competitiveness of products on the global stage. One in three globally-expanding businesses see this as a challenge; in response, 28% are actively working to improve the quality of their products, up by 13% over last year.
Funding international growth has become harder too. Almost a quarter of businesses seeking to expand their global reach say they are finding it difficult to access capital or financing, up by 7% over 2022.
An increasing number of growth-focused international businesses are deploying digital solutions for a range of purposes – from sales and customer personalisation to security and logistics. For example, blockchain and artificial intelligence are being employed to streamline processes, while cloud-based technologies have made it easier to recruit international employees and communicate seamlessly with them.
The use of third-party digital tools as a support mechanism is also on the rise, up by 9% to 27%. Some 61% of businesses see these as helpful to their growth efforts, suggesting this trend will continue.
Finally, more businesses are taking advantage of free trade agreements: FTA use has risen by 5% to 21%. There is potential for trade deals to support even more businesses, with 23% saying they would consider FTAs. In fact, improved trade deals tops the list of changes that businesses feel could make the UK more competitive.