Companies who export cross border are twice as likely to experience strong growth, according to new data.
InterTradeIreland’s latest Business Monitor survey reveals that companies that export cross border are outperforming companies that do not, with 41 per cent enjoying rapid to moderate expansion.
This is almost double compared to non-cross border traders at 21 per cent.
The survey found that more than three quarters of cross border traders (78 per cent) describe themselves as profitable compared to 51 per cent of firms that do not sell into the opposite jurisdiction.
Martin Robinson, director of strategy at InterTradeIreland, says that this is a recurring trend, “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.
“Recent data from the Central Statistics Office shows that cross-border trade in goods reached €7.65 billion in 2021 and continues to increase.
“In January-May 2022, Irish import trade with Northern Ireland has risen by another €356 million (23 per cent) and Irish exports to Northern Ireland have risen by €586 million (42 per cent), compared to the same period in 2021.”
The figures show that despite the unprecedented impact of rising costs, business performance overall is holding steady for now, with 83 per cent of companies across the island of Ireland in stable or growth mode, on a par with last quarter’s results (85 per cent).
However, for the leisure, hotel and catering sector, which has experienced a more challenging time than most, 42 per cent are experiencing a drop in sales compared to 23 per cent last quarter.
As expected, rising costs dominate business challenges as energy prices (86 per cent) and overheads (83 per cent) continue to be the top two issues impacting businesses, as they have been over the past six months.
The impact of Brexit (43 per cent) and Covid-19 (39 per cent) has declined as companies continue to adapt. However, almost half of businesses (46 per cent) now cite a difficulty in recruitment of appropriate skills as a key issue.
Mr Robinson said: “As skills challenges become a significant issue, we are starting to see companies look at different ways to tackle shortages. 35 per cent for example have increased advertising while 29 per cent 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.”