About 1 in 8 UK businesses is in creative industries


The creative industries accounted for 284,400 businesses - or about one in eight (11.8 per cent) of all UK businesses - in 2016, with almost 18 per cent having traded internationally compared to the average figure for international trading of 12.9 per cent across all UK business sectors.

The statistics from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, (DCMS) highlight the opportunity to scale up creative industries businesses. Approximately 94 per cent of creative enterprises are micro-businesses employing fewer than 10 staff, and 87.6 per cent have a turnover of less than £250,000 a year. Other DCMS sectors, such as telecoms, tourism, and gambling, have a higher proportion of businesses in the larger turnover bracket compared to the creative industries.

DCMS Table

Source: DCMS Sectors Economic Estimates, Business Demographics, February 2018.

The Creative Industries Council has made scaling up creative businesses a key part of its five year growth strategy for these industries. 

Despite often being relatively modest in size, though, creative industries businesses are often involved in international trade, with just over 50,000 creative businesses either exporting or importing in 2016. Of this figure, an estimated 38,300 creative businesses exported, whilst 28,100 imported and some 16,500 did both.

Although the proportion of creative businesses trading internationally is higher than the UK average across all sectors, it is lower than in other DCMS sectors such as telecoms (30.5 per cent) or the cultural sector (24.5 per cent). This further underlines the opportunities for UK creative businesses to grow their export activities, in particular.


Published: February 19, 2018.



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