UK Ad exports grow 15 per cent to record £7.9bn 


Advertising is now the UK's second biggest exporting service sector after reporting £7.9bn of service exports in 2018, according to the UK Advertising Exports Report 2020 from the Advertising Association.

The year on year 15 per cent growth in advertising services exports compares favourably with the two per cent growth rate experienced by UK services as a whole.

Between 2009 and 2018, the value of UK advertising services exports has increased from £2.4bn to £7.9bn. Further, in 2018 UK advertising ran a £3.6bn balance of payments surplus, which was the largest of any advertising industry across europe.

Advertising Exports 2009-18

Above: the value of UK advertising services exports (shown in £m) more than doubled in 2009-18. Source: UKAEG report, 2020)

The figures, published by the AA and analysed by Credos, the industry think tank, are based on the official data from the annual survey in International Trade in Services.

The majority (55 per cent) of UK ad services exports go to Europe. The USA is the biggest national market (worth £1.1bn), ahead of Germany (£1bn), France (£733m), Switzerland (£661m) and Ireland (£640m).

The report also showcases the work of the UK Advertising Export Group (UKAEG), a partnership of government and industry, which works to promote the sector across the world. It has attracted 45 members from across the advertising and marketing services landscape. 

With Covid-19 hitting industry events internationally, UKAEG is supporting virtual initiatives to encourage lead generation and new business opportunities in key territorities. Read more about UKAEG here.

Welcoming the report, 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.

"My department is committed to securing free trade agreement that benefit exporters in every industry, nation and region of the UK".

Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive of the Advertising Association, said: "To have jumped into second place as an exporter among comparable industries is a genuine demonstration of UK advertising's strategic, creative and technological strengths.

"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 combination to people, society, business and the economy."

Janet Hull, Chair AEG and Director of Marketing Strategy, The IPA, said: "To continue this impressive growth, we have launched the UK Advertising Exports Group as a new cross-industry partnership wit 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."

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The founding partners of the UKAEG are the Advertising Association, the IPA, the APA, the DMA, London & Partners and the Creative Industries Council.

Read more on the group and its members on the UKAEG hub.