The survey*, commissioned by FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) and conducted by Morning Consult, finds 82% of U.S. small business decision makers believe increasing trade between the U.S. and other countries will improve the economy overall. Three-fourths (75%) of these small business leaders think expanding trade will create opportunities and jobs. Still, some respondents report feeling unable to take full advantage of the benefits of trade: 70% of companies engaged in international trade said that customs regulations presented a barrier to their international e-commerce business.
“The results of the FedEx Trade Index remind us that, even in times of global uncertainty, small businesses overwhelmingly value the opportunities for growth and access to new markets that are made possible through global trade,” said Brie Carere, executive vice president, chief marketing and communications officer, FedEx Corp. “In 2020, small businesses are adapting rapidly to embrace e-commerce and extending their reach to new consumers beyond their borders. Small businesses believe in the benefits of modern free trade agreements to enable their growth.”
The Fall 2020 FedEx Trade Index also features a complementary survey conducted in Canada, offering insights from business leaders from two of the three markets in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which took effect in July 2020. An overwhelming majority (91%) of U.S. small business leaders are supportive of USMCA, up from 84% in the Fall 2019 FedEx Trade Index. Small business support for the agreement is also strong among survey respondents in Canada, where 86% of small business leaders expressed their support for USMCA.
Additional insights include:
85% of U.S. small businesses agree that programs addressing job retraining and skills upgrading should be a priority to help the U.S. compete globally.
47% of small businesses report investing in new technology since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A majority of respondents say using technology to create better customer (74%) and employee (71%) experiences is important for their small business’ success and COVID-19 recovery.
 The FedEx Trade Index is a national survey of 1,000 U.S. small business leaders conducted by Morning Consult. Trade Index research also incorporated 500 respondents in Canada. Respondents included business owners and executives at companies with between two and 500 employees. The U.S. and Canada research was conducted online September 28-29, 2020. The margin of error for the full sample is +/-3%.