Scouting for new exports markets outside Europe? Look to India and Nigeria

(Manish Jaisi /

An analysis by Santander Corporate & Commercial of the latest ONS export data reveals the fastest growing export markets for UK goods in 2018. Anna Tobin reports

Those businesses looking to expand their export footprint outside of the EU in preparation for Brexit will find the latest research by Santander Corporate & Commercial informative. It finds that the fastest growing export markets for UK goods last year were Nigeria, which was up 27% to £1.63 billion, and India, which rose 24% to £5.52 billion. While the largest export country for UK goods remains the USA, where the UK export market for 2018 was worth £55 billion. Despite these impressive figures, however, overall UK export growth slowed to 2% in 2018, down from 11% in 2017.

The analysis looked at the top 50 goods export markets. It found that the ten fastest growing markets in 2018 were largely made up of non-EU countries, as this table demonstrates.

Top 10 fastest growing export destinations (within the top 50) for UK goods, over one year
Country Value, £million Percentage change from 2017
Nigeria 1,634 27%
India 5,524 24%
Greece 1,066 21%
Thailand 1,545 19%
Taiwan 1,370 18%
Netherlands 25,760 17%
Norway 3,639 13%
Canada 6,091 13%
Japan 7,032 10%
Ireland 22,188 9%

Source: Santander UK analysis of ONS Top 50 UK export data, 2018

“It’s exciting to see British companies embracing new international trade opportunities, not just with established trading superpowers like the US, Germany and Japan, but also in evolving markets such as India and Nigeria,” said John Carroll, head of international, Santander Corporate & Commercial. “Taking the leap into a new and less traditional market can seem daunting at first, but we know that companies who trade internationally often have stronger growth prospects and are more resilient against economic uncertainty at home.”

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