U.K. businesses turn to international markets to ride out dual storm of Brexit and COVID-19

“Pivot” is the latest buzzword in company boardrooms, as British businesses look to diversify their products and markets to cope with the pandemic-driven collapse of the economy.

Logistics firm One World Express surveyed 900 decision makers within U.K. businesses and found that 43% have pivoted their product or service since the pandemic began — this is particularly true of large businesses — which are classified as those with 250 employees or more — where the number rises to 57%.

At present, 42% of U.K. businesses export their products or services globally. However, in light of the difficult trading conditions resulting from coronavirus, 57% are now considering expansion into new international markets in the months ahead, with a further 44% saying Brexit has prompted them to explore new export opportunities outside of the European Single Market.

A quarter of companies have also started selling to new demographics of customers since the lockdown began in March, the research found.

Governments and lenders are stepping in at an unprecedented pace to try to provide business loans and job retention schemes to help companies survive the economic fallout from the lockdown. But many businesses are assessing the way forward to position themselves once the crisis subsides.

 “At a time when the world has been turned upside down, it is unwise for business leaders to believe they can simply ‘keep calm and carry on.’ So, it is positive to see many companies taking bold action in the midst of the pandemic,” said Atul Bhakta, chief executive of One World Express.

Source: MarketWatch (https://www.marketwatch.com/)