The latest ExportNZ Survey shows exporters are confident of good growth and increasing orders in overseas markets for 2014, despite battling against a currency that is higher than most would wish for.
Executive Director of ExportNZ Catherine Beard said, “This survey is a useful check for really drilling down to the nitty gritty with exporters to find out what is working and where they need help.”
23.5% of respondents expect export orders to rise substantially, 53.3% expect export orders to rise slowly. Over half (63.1%) expect profitability to improve over the next 12 months and 44.7% expect to employ more people.
Goods exports are growing faster than services exports, and access to skilled staff is not a problem for the majority (71%).
43.9% of respondents expect to export to new markets in the next 12 months, and the most popular new markets were ASEAN, USA, Europe/UK and the Middle East.
In terms of the top three barriers to exporters, the most mentioned were exchange rate levels, lack of export skills/knowledge and price competitiveness of products.
Exporters are using a number of strategies to manage the high NZ dollar, with nearly half focussing on improving productivity. This was followed by investing in new product development, hedging, increasing prices, investing in new plant and equipment and selling on-line.
Some exporters (36.5%) are still facing regulatory and non-tariff barriers to trade, with common issues being bio-security issues with China and Australia.
Those exporters that are receiving Government assistance from NZTE mostly rated it good or very good, but over half of the respondents were not receiving any support at all. The kind of support they would most like was export market development assistance, followed by R & D and venture capital.
They would also like more assistance on large procurement projects with early market intelligence and introductions to supply chain and procurement managers.
The top three things that exporters rated as being important to their success in overseas markets was a focus on quality of products and services, good customer service and offering competitive prices.
Nearly half of the respondents (48.1) said on-line selling was opening up new market opportunities for their business. As to whether broadband speeds were fast enough for their business, quite a high percentage (41.3%) said no.
Catherine Beard said, “There is plenty of good information in this survey that will inform politicians, policy makers, officials at NZTE and MFAT, and ExportNZ about what we need to do to assist our exporters.
“There is clearly an opportunity for ExportNZ to step up our efforts in tackling the lack of confidence around export skills and knowledge, and to focus our efforts on the markets our exporters are targeting.”
View the ExportNZ 2013 Exporters Survey here.