The advertising and marketing industry exported £15bn in services during 2021, according to an Advertising Association analysis of the latest Office for National Statistics data, witnessing a strong rebound from 2020 and a 32.5% increase in year-on-year growth.
The bounce-back is the highest seen since ad industry think tank Credos began tracking the sector’s export figures in 2018 and brings export value back in line with the industry’s pre-Covid trajectory, making the UK second only to the US for exports worldwide.
The surge in advertising exports have also been met with a sharp increase in UK imports, valued at just under £12bn – a 70% rise from 2020’s figure of £7bn. The UK retained an overall trade surplus of advertising and marketing services in 2021, contributing a net £3bn to balance of payments.
The US remains the largest market for UK exports, receiving £3.9bn worth of advertising and market research services, a value that has more than tripled since 2020. This is followed by Germany (£1.36bn) and then Ireland (£894m). The top ten recipients of UK advertising are largely EU countries with a new entry from Australia at seventh, receiving exports worth £538m.
Secretary of State for the Department of Business & Trade Kemi Badenoch said: “The advertising industry is one of the UK’s strongest exports and these record figures provide a great boost as we aim to sell £1 trillion of goods and services a year to the world by the end of the decade. I look forward to working closely with the industry to help businesses expand into new markets and help drive further economic growth in the years ahead.”
Advertising Association chief executive Stephen Woodford added: “It is terrific to see such strong growth figures from the UK’s world-leading advertising and marketing services, showing the innovative way our industry has responded to the challenges posed by the pandemic.
“We prepare now to support the next decade of UK advertising growth, through our productive partnership between the industry, through the UK Advertising Exports Group, and the Department for Business & Trade.
“As the UK Government sets out its ambitions to become a science and technological superpower, we should not forget the UK is already a creative superpower and our recent success at SXSW demonstrates how our industry can continue to play a key part in UK export growth.”
The release of the export figures comes at a time when the UK has become the first European nation to join the CPTPP, a trade bloc consisting of 11 Pacific countries, over 500 million people and a £11trillion GDP.
However, the Credos analysis also sets out several global headwinds, in particular inflation which is taking a more noticeable effect as the cost-of-living crisis continues.
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