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Post-coronavirus recovery boom – SMEs look to take advantage

Credit Suisse and S-GE publish a study on the SME export outlook for the second half of 2021

Export sentiment in the Swiss SME sector is soaring. As is clear from the latest survey on export sentiment conducted by Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE), SMEs are looking to ramp up exports in the second half of the year and benefit from the post-pandemic recovery. The Credit Suisse Export Barometer is already at a record level.

Switzerland’s export economy is sailing into the sun. With the majority of companies already anticipating positive development at the start of the year, the trend now appears to have strengthened: 67% of all Swiss SMEs are expecting exports to rise in the second semester of 2021 too. This degree of positivity is not far off the levels identified in the record years of 2018 and 2019. When asked about how they were dealing with the crisis, the surveyed companies cited a broad spectrum of measures. The most frequently cited measure was the opening-up of new sales markets – 44% of SMEs are planning to tap into new export markets in the second semester of the year. The countries cited by most respondents in this respect were China, Russia, Indonesia, the countries of Scandinavia, and the UK.

The Credit Suisse Export Barometer has already reached a record level. At 3.1 points, it is now at its highest level since measurements began. At the same time, there is clear evidence of the scars left behind by the pandemic: 70% of Swiss SMEs recorded a decline in international sales as a result of coronavirus. Restrictions to travel activity and disruption to supply chains have emerged as the greatest challenges faced by the majority of SMEs.

Andreas Gerber, Head of Corporate Banking at Credit Suisse, commented as follows: “Global manufacturers and therefore the Swiss SME sector too are benefiting from the fact that consumers had greater disposable income for the purchase of goods during the crisis, as the restrictions were felt by the services sector first and foremost. While the boom in manu-facturing can be expected to continue, we are anticipating a significant pick-up in demand in the services area too due to the impending lifting of restrictions.”

Alberto Silini, Head of Consulting at Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE), added: “Swiss SMEs are now looking to kick-start their international business – in order to gain an edge in the impending global recovery phase, tap into new markets, and gain additional market share. We would advise drawing the right conclusions from the crisis, developing a long-term international strategy, and preparing carefully for entry into any new markets. After all, even the ‘new normal’ following the pandemic will be attended by a multitude of economic and political uncertainties.”

Further information on the SME export outlook for the second semester of 2021 can be found in the brochure.

The SME export outlook for the first semester of 2022 will be published on January 27, 2022.