Small and Medium Businesses: Outlook Optimistic for Growth

Survey Finds Trade and E-Commerce Opportunities for Canadian SMEs


MISSISSAUGA, ON., June 14, 2022— Canadian small and medium decision-makers (SMEs) are signaling signs of optimism for the next year, even while the effects from the pandemic are still being felt. These findings were driven by current and projected business performance as well as a belief in opportunities through increased trade as identified in the third edition of the FedEx Trade Index, an annual poll of 500 small and medium business decision-makers conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of FedEx Express Canada, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp (NYSE: FDX).

Of those surveyed in the FedEx Trade Index, over one-third of survey respondents (39 per cent) reported that their current revenues are increasing. This is a trend Canadian SMEs expect to continue, with 54 per cent stating they feel confident their revenues will increase in a year from now. What’s more, 89 per cent of survey respondents stated they were confident they will retain existing customers.

On the topic of trade, 76 per cent of small and medium decision-makers surveyed agree that trade is key to growing and expanding the economy. In fact, despite the much-publicized challenges global supply chains experienced in 2021, three-quarters (79 per cent) of respondents believe that expanding trade and business opportunities to customers in other countries is good.

“The pandemic has been the most challenging time for small and medium businesses in generations, yet the optimism Canada’s entrepreneurs exude is something we should all embrace,” said Lisa Lisson, president of FedEx Express Canada. “Despite the bumps with the global supply chain over the last few months, SMEs continue to recognize the importance of international trade. Their confidence in global trade fueling the performance of the Canadian economy shows our business leaders have embraced a growth-mindset for this year—which is exactly what our economy needs right now.”

E-commerce, International Trade Remain Untapped Opportunities

While the SMEs surveyed believe in the growth potential offered by greater international trade, only 39 per cent of respondents import or export goods and services. Of those who do not import or export, the overwhelming reason cited by 64 per cent of respondents was simply that most of their customers were local. A possible reason why some SMEs have not expanded their customers pool is the lack of an e-commerce strategy, given just under half of those surveyed – 46 per cent - currently sell goods online.

FedEx supports trade agreements that reduce trade barriers and create opportunities for our customers, actively supporting government measures to expand access via the opening of markets and sharing of information around the world. As the 2022 FedEx Trade index shows, support in understanding and entering into international trade is critical, with 89 per cent of survey respondents who import or export goods saying that cross-country regulations on data, terms, and product information are essential when ordering products from other countries. Fees and tariffs, a common theme in past editions of the FedEx Trade Index, also continue to be a concern, with 81 per cent of business that import or export goods saying fees and tariffs have had either a great deal or some impact on the growth of their businesses.

“Consumers around the world can benefit from made-in-Canada goods and services, and e-commerce is the gateway to helping businesses of all sizes enter and prosper in new markets,” said Lisson. “For the 41 per cent of survey respondents who said they found it hard to acquire new customers domestically, and for any business owners who are only catering to their local customers, we urge them to take a step back to see their potential in reaching 7.8 billion people. The success of those entrepreneurs who have made the world their marketplace is an inspiration to all Canadian SMEs.”

Support for CUSMA Remains Strong

The Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) CUSMA continues to be overwhelmingly supported among small businesses in Canada with 89 per cent of survey respondents support the trade agreement. Forty-two per cent of survey respondents stated that CUSMA has had a positive impact on their business, with just 10 per cent stating that CUSMA had a negative effect. FedEx plays a critical role in expanding trade by connecting people and possibilities, helping businesses build more nimble supply chains, and delivering local products and services to customers worldwide. The Canadian edition of the 2022 FedEx Trade Index can be found here.

About the Survey

This poll was conducted between May 24 and May 29, 2022, and was conducted among small and medium business decision-makers, defined as those who work for companies with less than 500 employees and hold a position of manager or higher. Five hundred small business decision-makers were interviewed in Canada. Interviews were conducted online using a panel of respondents. These data are not weighted, though basic stratification parameters for gender and region were in place during the sampling process. Results from the complete survey have a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

About FedEx Corp.

FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. With annual revenue of $92 billion, the company offers integrated business solutions through operating companies competing collectively, operating collaboratively and innovating digitally under the respected FedEx brand. Consistently ranked among the world’s most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its 600,000 team members to remain focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities. FedEx is committed to connecting people and possibilities around the world responsibly and resourcefully, with a goal to achieve carbon-neutral operations by 2040. To learn more, please visit

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