New research has found that SMEs based in the UK are more optimistic about growth this year than their counterparts in Europe.

Global firm Aircall commissioned Sapio Research to survey 1,400 employees at SMEs across the UK, North America, Australia, France, Germany and Spain.

The Voice of SMBs 2024 report found that 66% of UK businesses are optimistic about growth, with France and Germany around 10% lower. The global average was 64%.

Exactly three-quarters of UK SMEs say their main focus next year will be customer satisfaction – higher than the global average of 72% – while 40% of UK firms have included upskilling, training or coaching as part of their growth strategies, far higher than the global average of 32%.

Despite the UK’s 10-year plan to become an AI superpower, less than half (45%) of UK SMEs say AI-supported tools will help drive customer satisfaction in the year ahead – the lowest rate out of all countries surveyed other than France, with 39%.

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SMEs represent 95% of the world’s companies and 70% of the world’s population. 61% of global businesses are prioritising customer experiences over growth in the next year.

“I joined as Aircall CEO at the end of 2023, and this report excited and surprised me as soon as I saw it,” said Scott Chancellor.

“With the correct strategies in place, SMEs can navigate tight budgets, and big competition – and unlock a kind of growth to be proud of.”

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