Export sentiment, as measured by Switzerland Global Enterprise in a biannual sur-vey of Swiss SMEs, is once again on an upward trend, having risen from 60.5 to 66.7 points. Despite all the global challenges, the companies surveyed are much more positive about the coming months than they were six months ago: 59% expect their exports to grow, 32% expect them to stagnate and just 19% expect them to de-cline.
This confidence is also reflected in the fact that businesses are able to cope well with the major challenges currently facing them. Energy and commodity prices now pose serious problems for “only” 54% of companies, compared with 73% at the beginning of the year, while currency risks are still a concern for 51% of companies instead of 61%.
In terms of export destinations, China has regained its appeal after moving away from its rigid coronavirus policy. The most important target markets, however, remain Europe and – in third place, behind Germany and France – the USA. The Gulf states, India and Latin America continue to be emerging markets. In addition, North America and China feature on the radars of companies seeking to expand.
Finally, the survey shows that sustainability is becoming increasingly important in the export industry, too. The focus is on environmental protection standards, supply-chain diversification, the circular economy, and transparency and accountability.
Alberto Silini, Senior Director Global Consulting, notes: “Swiss SMEs are optimistic about the coming months. One of the reasons for this is that the situation around energy and commodities prices has eased, as have currency risks. Nevertheless, challenges will persist. One of them is sustainability, which will continue to gain in importance in the export industry, too – both socially and at an international and country-specific legal level. In this case, it will be crucial to see changes as an op-portunity and to approach them proactively. After all, companies that focus on sustainability gain a competitive edge, become more resilient to crises and can move into the future in a stronger position.”
Sylvain Jaccard, Senior Director of the Western Switzerland Market, explains: “The export industry finds itself in a challenging environment. Despite this, Swiss com-panies are operating successfully and are introducing impressive new growth strategies. In times of diverse global challenges, it is essential for SMEs to be able to rely on proven sales markets, such as Germany, France and the USA. At the same time, the focus is currently on exciting new markets – the Gulf states, India and Latin America – whose potential could provide additional momentum.”
Further information on the SME export outlook for the first semester of 2023 can be found in the brochure below.
The results of the survey on SME export sentiment for the first half of 2024 will be published on January 30, 2024.