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SME drinks manufacturers toast 63% revenue surge in Q1

Published:  10 June, 2024

Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) drinks manufacturers are celebrating a substantial 63% rise in revenue during the first quarter of the year, according to the latest figures released by the Manufacturers’ Health Index.

Compiled by inventory management software brand Unleashed, the index is based on data from over 1,790 manufacturers, tracking every purchase, sale and stock movement over the past six years.

Alcoholic and low and no alternatives saw the most significant revenue increase among all manufacturing categories analysed. In contrast, the food sector experienced a 6% decline in revenue.

The index also highlighted an impressive year-on-year performance for beverage manufacturers, with a 121% revenue increase compared to the same period last year. Conversely, food manufacturers saw a 9% year-on-year revenue drop.

Overall, firms across all manufacturing categories recorded an average year-on-year revenue rise of just 2%, aligning with the Bank of England’s assessment of weak growth in the manufacturing sector.

The index further revealed that SME manufacturers investing in eCommerce are reporting strong returns. Over one-third of these manufacturers now utilise B2B digital sales channels, contributing to an average 25% revenue increase and a 20% rise in sales orders in regions where Unleashed operates.

UK firms have also diversified into B2C eCommerce, with over two-thirds (68%) using platforms like Amazon, Shopify or WooCommerce to sell online.

Joe Llewellyn, GM of Cloud ERP at The Access Group, Unleashed's parent company, said: “It’s incredible to witness such a dramatic rise in revenue and year-on-year improvements for the beverage industry. While other sectors struggle, beverage manufacturers are making significant strides.

“We know from speaking to SME manufacturers how important technology is in driving operational efficiencies and diversifying their sales channels, and these investments are starting to bear fruit.”

The research also indicates that the manufacturing industry has reduced lead times to an average of 20 days, hitting a five-year low in Q4 2023.

Llewellyn added: “Inflation has battered the manufacturing industry, but the short lead times we see today are a small reprieve and a sign that manufacturers are in control of one of their biggest costs, their inventory. This will help them remain resilient and take advantage of more favourable economic conditions in the future.”