By Kristy Dorsey

UK markets outside Scotland have become the most appealing export destination for the country's technology firms, according to a poll in which 44 per cent reported a rise in sales and 40% reported increasing profit margins during 2020.

A survey of 200 firms by industry body ScotlandIS found that 77% are “very optimistic” about the prospects for 2021, with the greatest opportunities likely to be in data analytics (51%), artificial intelligence and machine learning (47%), and the Internet of Things (27%). Sixty per cent said they were already exporting, while 23% have plans to do so in the future.

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Amid the pandemic and the run-up to Brexit, Europe held on to its top spot as the industry’s most popular export market in 2020, cited by 66% of those questioned. However, this was seven percentage points lower than in 2019. The next two most popular markets were the rest of the UK (63%) and the US (62%).

The report’s authors said the impact of Brexit appears to have focused the sector on more local customers. Seventy-two per cent said the rest of the UK is the most attractive market for 2021, followed by North America (66%) and Europe (64%).