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NEWS - 6. April 2021 09:05

Survey: Small enterprises are looking a bit more towards foreign markets

Recent years have seen a rise in the proportion of those Estonian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that see export opportunities for providing their products or services.

According to the Baltic Business Outlook (BBO) survey, conducted by SEB, there are more companies than before that are looking for completely new external markets, not expanding their activities in the current ones.

This year, 12 per cent of SMEs plan to enter new markets, while in last year’s survey, this figure was 9 per cent. The last time the interest in new markets was this high, was six years ago. Compared to the previous year, there is a slight decrease in SMEs that intend to increase their current export – there is now about 16 per cent of them (18 per cent last year). 72 per cent do not look towards exporting at all; four years ago, there were 76 per cent of such companies.

While in Estonia, 28 per cent of SMEs focus on current or new export markets, then there is a little more of them in Lithuania (31 per cent) and a little less in Latvia (23 per cent). Similarly to Estonia, interest in exporting has grown somewhat in other Baltic states as well, compared to the previous year.

‘The quick growth of international e-commerce during the pandemic has shown that digitalisation gives a boost to export. From a content-rich website to e-solutions that allow offering one’s goods and services in foreign countries. However, the same survey shows that the sale of goods and services of Estonian SMEs via the Internet could grow more quickly. Half of SMEs use the Internet as a sales channel or intend to do so, but not a lot has changed in two years. It is possible that the current second wave of COVID-19 makes corrections in this attitude, and we can already see how entrepreneurs are looking for inventive solutions to sell their goods and services,’ said the Head of the SME segment at SEB, Tatjana Vakulenko.

The SEB survey took place in December 2020. The total number of respondents in the Baltics was 3500, with 1030 of them in Estonia. Among the enterprises that took part in the survey, 86 per cent had up to 10 employees.


Additional info:

Evelin Allas
Communications Manager
Marketing and Communications Division
SEB Pank

Phone: +372 6655 649
Mobile: +371 5111 718
Address: Tornimäe 2, 15010 Tallinn
E-mail: 

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