South West Manufacturers are more Optimistic than the National Average

Wednesday 11th October 2023

According to new research by FRP, 96% of manufacturers in the South West expect to see demand for their products increase in the next 12 months (compared with a national average of 87%). This optimism augers well for the future of the region’s economy, especially in the light of relatively high current inflation and interest rates. For the full story please read the bulletin below issued by Insider News Media.

Roger Mundy, Managing Director, Beardsley Theobalds, 11th October 2023


South West Manufacturers ‘Bullish’ - FRP

Manufacturers in the South West are "bullish about their prospects" in the coming year despite ongoing cost pressures, according to new research by FRP.

More than nine in 10 (96 per cent) of the manufacturers surveyed in the region are expecting to see demand for their products increase in the next 12 months – almost 10 percentage points higher than the national average of 87 per cent.

The data also shows that the vast majority (92 per cent) are confident that they will be able to continue trading over the same period.

Elsewhere, sector leaders are convinced by the robustness of their supply chains, with 84 per cent also expecting suppliers to continue trading successfully through the year ahead.

The research features in a new national FRP report, Against the Odds: The Future of UK Manufacturing, which points to a "resilient sector that is looking to invest in advanced technologies to help stimulate new growth".

FRP conducted a similar study at the end of 2022, which found that manufacturers were far less optimistic about their prospects.

Jonathan Dunn, restructuring advisory partner at FRP's Bristol office, said: "It's hard to understate the importance of the manufacturing sector to the South West economy, and after what has been a difficult year for many businesses, it's refreshing to see optimism beginning to return.

"The aerospace and defence sectors in particular have suffered from high energy costs and supply chain uncertainty. As we look ahead to 2024, these businesses will be welcoming the news that input and borrowing costs appear to be peaking or easing.

"However, with inflation remaining sticky, it’s important that business leaders channel their investment effectively to ensure they can capitalise on any anticipated increase in demand."

He added: "Looking at the results of this report, I'm confident that manufacturers have the plans in place to succeed, with a singular focus on their long-term growth and prosperity.

"The results reflect what we are hearing anecdotally across FRP, as many of the supply issues firms reported last year have now been resolved to a large extent, with the most pressing concerns now on the demand side of the scale.

"We would hope to see at least a small recovery in demand as inflation eases and consumer confidence stabilises."