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UK Advertising Annual Exports Rise 15% to £7.9 Billion in 2018

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New report shows advertising is now UK's second largest services sector for exports

The Advertising Association has published its annual UK Advertising Exports Report 2020 with new figures showing that international trade in UK advertising services grew 15% year-on-year to reach a new record level of £7.9 billion in 2018. Advertising has overtaken Telecommunications and Engineering Services to become the second largest services sector export behind Computer Services. 

Advertising’s 15% increase year-on-year compares favourably with UK service exports overall which rose by around 2% and the UK’s balance of payments surplus for advertising (£3.6bn) was Europe’s largest. In the decade spanning 2009 to 2018, advertising services exports have grown from £2.4bn to £7.9bn. 

In further analysis of export figures by advertising’s think tank Credos, at the last count £3.7bn worth of advertising services were exported to EU nations, accounting for 53% of overall advertising exports. The percentage of all UK advertising exports going to Europe, including both the EU and non-EU countries, was 55%. 

The USA is the largest market for UK advertising services in terms of individual country exports. In total, the USA purchases £1.1bn worth of UK advertising services. The USA is followed by Germany (£1bn), France (£733m), Switzerland (£661m), and Ireland (£640m). 

The report also showcases the new UK Advertising Export Group, a unique partnership between the UK advertising industry and government to promote the sector around the world, which has now reached 45 members from across the UK advertising and marketing services landscape. With Covid-19 affecting industry events around the world, UKAEG is actively supporting members with a number of virtual initiatives, events and workshops to support lead generation and new business development in key territories. 

International trade minister, Graham Stuart MP, said: “The UK is one of the world’s leading creative hubs, with a global reputation for the best creative talent, innovation and ideas. This new report by the Advertising Association highlights the strength of the UK’s booming advertising sector and the global demand for our leading services industry. My department is committed to securing free trade agreements that benefit exporters in every industry, nation and region of the UK.” 

Stephen Woodford, chief executive, Advertising Association, said: “This new report demonstrates the continued strength of the UK as a global centre for advertising and marketing services. To have jumped into second place as an export among comparable industries is a genuine demonstration of UK advertising’s strategic, creative and technological strengths. It is something we should be rightly proud of. We are determined to throw all our energies into building on this position of strength to enhance the UK’s status as a world-class hub for responsible advertising that makes a valuable and trusted contribution to people, society, businesses and the economy.” 

Janet Hull, chair, UKAEG and director of marketing strategy, The IPA said: “Today’s news that exports of advertising services has now reached an annual level of almost eight billion pounds shows the value of our creativity, skills and openness and my congratulations to all involved in this success story. To continue this impressive growth, we have launched the UK Advertising Exports Group - as a new cross-industry partnership with the UK Government to promote our services around the world. We encourage as many businesses as possible to join us in our work to build strong relationships with the world’s buyers of advertising and marketing services.” 

The data on exports was collected during the second full year following the Brexit referendum of July 23th, 2016. This was a year marked by enduring uncertainty surrounding the country’s departure from the EU, protracted withdrawal negotiations and repeated votes in Parliament on the Draft EU Withdrawal Agreement. 

UK Advertising Export Report 2020 also features case studies from UKAEG members. The new group was launched at the start of March as a new industry partnership with UK Government to accelerate profile and lead generation opportunities in key international territories including China, Japan, South Korea, North America and Europe. The case studies focus on campaigns created either for overseas markets or clients and demonstrate the breadth of the UK’s expertise in advertising and marketing services. 

UKAEG is backed by the Advertising Association, the IPA, APA, DMA, London & Partners and the Creative Industries Council and currently numbers 45 members drawn from across the UK’s advertising and marketing services industries. 

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