UK advertising to become ‘exporting powerhouse’ with growth of 54% over next five years

The UK advertising industry’s £4.7bn contribution to the nation’s exports is set to grow by 54% over the next five years to £7.2bn, meaning policy makers must take note of its impact on the UK economy.


The data is published today (12 April) alongside a new report exploring the global impact of UK advertising by think tank Credos, commissioned by the Advertising Association.

The UK’s balance of payments for advertising-related services – which comprises of the difference between exports and imports – is the highest in Europe at £1.6bn, five times the French figure of £327m. It is second only behind by the US globally, which has advertising exports of £2.7bn. Most UK advertising services are exported to Europe (61%), followed by North America (27%) and Asia (11%).

Figures by the Office for National Statistics show the total export value of advertising services (£4.7bn) is ahead of other services industries, including insurance (£2.4bn) and construction (£2.25bn). It is only topped by computer services and telecommunications, which have a total export value of £6.7bn and £5.97bn respectively.

Speaking on the report’s outcomes, James Murphy, chairman of the Advertising Association and founder and CEO of adam&eveDDB, says: “It’s time UK advertising was recognised as a massive export success.

“The new data is proof that world-beating talent, award-winning creativity, digital leadership and a gold-standard self-regulatory model have built UK advertising into an exporting powerhouse that will continue to deliver for the economy.”

Karen Fraser, director at Credos adds: “The latest Advertising Pays chapter has the data and case studies to make policy makers sit up and take note of what advertising does for the UK economy, in terms of both raw export power and British soft power overseas.”

Previous reports by the Advertising Association and Warc have shown that for every pound spent on advertising it returns £6 to UK GDP, contributing a total of £100bn in 2011. Total ad spend is expected to break the £20bn barrier this year.

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