Ad industry exports rise 15.5% to reach record £15.6bn

Exports_2023The advertising and marketing industry has cemented its position as a global powerhouse following the release of latest export figures for 2022, which reveal a 15.5% year-on-year increase to reach £15.6bn.

These figures coincide with the launch of International Trade Week (November 6-9), hosted by the Department of Business & Trade and the UK Advertising Export Group (UKAEG), with events designed to help businesses, large or small, maximise their global growth potential in international markets.

To support UKAEG’s work, VCCP international CEO and vice chairman Julian Douglas has been appointed as the new chair of the group following his active participation in global trade missions and his commitment to global new business as IPA President between 2021 and 2023. He succeeds New Commercial Arts founder and CEO James Murphy.

Advertising Association chief executive Stephen Woodford said: “Dougie was a charismatic and visionary representative for the industry during his IPA Presidency and has proven himself to be a committed and tenacious leader in our export group. I am excited that he’s taken on this new role. In James Murphy him we were lucky to have another exemplary ambassador of the best of our business and we are very grateful to him for his support for our exports work.”

Based on the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the advertising industry’s thinktank Credos found that the UK ad industry remained resilient in its exports growth, despite the economic turbulence, surpassing the revised 2021 export figures of £13.6bn.

Over the past six years, the industry has experienced significant growth, with exports increasing from £7.1bn in 2016 to £15.6bn in 2022. This positive trajectory can be attributed partly to the growing number of UK advertising and market research companies engaging in international activities all while the number of companies categorised as advertising and market research services is 23,095. This number has remained largely stable since 2016.

Just under a third of UK advertising and marketing related service companies currently engage in exporting, indicating significant untapped potential for growth. To further drive growth and expand global reach, the industry launched the UKAEG in 2020. This initiative, supported by the Advertising Association, APA, BPMA, IPA, and the Department for Business & Trade, aims to promote UK advertising services worldwide.

Chair Julian Douglas will serve as a representative for the sector on exporting matters and act as an ambassador to ensure continuous growth in the next decade as the group looks to unlock new markets.

Douglas said: “By joining forces with the UKAEG and the DBT, businesses can tap into new markets and drive economic growth. Government support, trade agreements, and strategic collaborations offer opportunities worldwide. UK advertising is ready to compete and win on a global scale. We have the smarts, the technology and the pure creative firepower to change the world and our position in it.”

Minister for Exports Lord Offord added: “The UK’s creative industries are world leading, and these record export figures provide a welcome boost as we aim to sell £1 trillion of goods and services a year to the world by 2030. There are more than 200,000 people working at over 20,000 businesses in our ad industry and I look forward to helping more of them expand into new markets, creating more jobs and cementing the UK as a services superpower.”

The UKAEG has set its sights on key international markets such as the US, China, India, and MENA, with plans for multiple trade missions in 2024. These missions will include participation in global events such as SXSW, Advertising Week NYC, Shanghai International Advertising Festival, Cannes Lions, Dubai Lynx, and Goa Fest.

UKAEG insists the preliminary export data paints a compelling picture of the UK ad industry’s resilience, innovation, and sustained growth. The next export report, set to be published in March 2024, will delve into this data in detail, providing a comprehensive view of the industry’s trajectory and its impact on the global advertising landscape.

Companies can sign up for the International Trade Week events and find out more about UKAEG here.

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