Breaking into the international market: Net income and margin improvement for Spanish SMEs


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

This study examines the dynamics of internationalization and globalization efforts of Spanish small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The study aims to assess the number of Spanish SMEs engaged into international trade and benefits and risks (e.g., associated with the COVID-19 pandemic) such a process can bring. Empirical analysis of data from the Spanish Ministry of Industry provides an overview of the percentage of SMEs engaging in international activities, i.e., exporting their products and services. The results capture the critical differences between exporters and those companies that target only domestic customers and confirm that the number of newly established SMEs is growing. However, the number of exporters is decreasing or range at the same level. Only 5.48% of Spanish SMEs actively participate in international activities, and very few are involved in real internationalization. The results confirm the existence of economic growth for exporting companies that significantly impact regional and international efficiency, especially those who previously worked on research and market performance. The larger the exporting company, the higher its revenue. In addition, exporters are far more significant and considerably more productive than those companies that choose not to engage in exports.

This study is funded by Nebrija University.

view full abstract hide full abstract
    • Figure 1. Number of SMEs by employee number
    • Figure 2. Evolution of Spanish firms by size from 2017 to 2022
    • Figure 3. SMEs’ size against annual net income
    • Figure 4. Number of Spanish SMEs engaged in international trade in 2022
    • Table 1. Sector breakdown of Spanish SMEs
    • Table 2. Distribution of employment by firm size
    • Table 3. Number of SMEs in Spain from 2021 to 2022
    • Table 4. Percentage of Spanish SMEs engaging in international trade in 2022
    • Table 5. Percentage of Spanish SMEs investing in international market R&D
    • Table 6. SMEs’ self-audit to prepare for internationalization
    • Conceptualization
      Geoffrey Ditta
    • Data curation
      Geoffrey Ditta
    • Formal Analysis
      Geoffrey Ditta
    • Investigation
      Geoffrey Ditta
    • Methodology
      Geoffrey Ditta
    • Project administration
      Geoffrey Ditta
    • Supervision
      Geoffrey Ditta
    • Validation
      Geoffrey Ditta
    • Visualization
      Geoffrey Ditta
    • Writing – original draft
      Geoffrey Ditta
    • Writing – review & editing
      Geoffrey Ditta