As we come to the final throes of Brexit negotiations, there are many questions still left hanging in the air. Extending the deadline in order to solidify agreements has meant lengthening this period of uncertainty, and understandably this has brought about concern for even the most supportive leave voters.
Fortunately there are some answers we can glean from the information currently available to us. Not all of the expected outcomes of Brexit – whatever they may be – are positive, however they aren’t all expected to be resoundingly negative either. Here are some of the things we’ve learned about the future of business in the UK after Brexit, so you can start preparing now.
February actually experienced higher spending than predicted. According to The Guardian, official figures from the Office for National Statistics point to a stronger performance than expected.
This increase in spending has statisticians wondering whether the combination of warm weather and a slight decrease in anxiety about the upcoming Brexit deadline is what has led shoppers to the high street.
However, despite this increase in spending in February, March saw a sharp decrease according to a CBI survey, illustrating the uncertainty shoppers currently feel. This flip-flopping was explained by Anna Leach, the head of economic intelligence at the CBI “…consumer confidence has been hit by escalating uncertainty over Brexit and concern over the economy’s future.”
This means that consumers are changing their minds quickly, and are willing and capable of changing them back at a moment’s notice. Take advantage of this with your marketing strategies or provide some much-needed stability in order to allay their fears.
Trade and Workforce Discussions
From their actions so far within the negotiations, it is clear that the EU would like to keep the door open for Britain as much as possible. At the forefront of any business owner’s mind are the possible implications for trade, and the knock-on effect immigration limitations may have on finding and retaining an adequate workforce.
However, according to Trusted Shops, not only are the EU member states continuing to consider making it easier for the UK to cancel its withdrawal (a situation that most likely will not happen, but is still worth mentioning), Theresa May has also made decisions to help EU workers stay in the UK.
While it’s still unclear what exactly will happen once Brexit reaches its final deadline, it’s encouraging to see that discussions that include the interests of business owners are still open and moving.
Stronger International Markets
“Although retailers might be losing out on the exchange rate, they seem to be more than making up for it in volume sales. In fact, PayPal recently announced that small and medium businesses (SMEs) in the UK who sell abroad saw sales go up.” – Alon Eisenberg, Trusted Shops.
While there is no cast-iron guarantee that our European friends will continue buying from us so eagerly after Brexit, there are other nations that are keen to trade with Britain. New Zealand is already seeking a new deal with us, and of course China is a huge economic force that will become essential to the future of our international trading relationships.
There have also been rumours of potential tax incentives to drive European businesses to our shores, which will come with its own set of positives and negatives for UK business should it come to pass.
There is no way to offer solid advice on the future outcome of Brexit, but what we can do is continue to pay attention to the movements of our markets closer to home, and especially in the behaviour of consumers.
We don’t know what will happen. Whether we reach the perfect deal with the EU, vote in a second referendum, or leave without a deal is undecided, but what we know for sure is that British business is influential. Consumers from the EU and beyond are accustomed to looking at the British market for innovation. This means that potentially, the most vital way to hang on to the market is to continue bringing new trends to light, and leading the way, whether in tech, manufacturing, fashion or retail.