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By Betting And Gaming Council

UK advertising breaks through £15bn of exports

Advertising Association

3 min read Partner content

The UK exported an impressive £15bn of advertising and market research services in 2021 – a massive 32.5% increase compared to the previous year, and the largest rise since tracking began in 2018. This brings the sector back to its pre-COVID growth trajectory and showcases its resilience, as well as the power that the British advertising sector has on the world stage.

The UK’s advertising sector is a hub of diverse skills and world class creativity. It is more than just a gateway to Britain, it opens doors to the world, and this global reputation positions the UK behind only the US in terms of exports value. When looking at the ten largest importers of UK advertising services, it is clear that there is potential for further growth and trade opportunities beyond Europe's borders. The US remains by far the strongest international partner for the UK’s advertising industry, purchasing a total of £3.9bn of advertising and market research services in 2021, more than tripling its imports from 2020. This is followed by Germany (£1.36 billion) and then Ireland in third place (£894 million). Particularly exciting is Australia’s entry into the top 10 for the first time, coming in at a strong 7th place (£538m).

Kemi Badenoch, Secretary of State for the Department of Business and Trade (DBT), 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."

Our industry is an innovation powerhouse, fuelled by a unique collaboration with the Department for Business and Trade. A collective of over 70 of the best advertising and marketing services companies, along with supporting trade organisations, make up the UK Advertising Export Group (UKAEG) – a global new business driver like no other. This one-of-a-kind partnership has undoubtedly helped fuel the industry's continued success and stands as a shining example of what can be achieved through focused collaboration and support between government and industry.

Most recently UKAEG and DBT collaborated at SXSW to position the UK’s advertising industry at the forefront of innovation with over 30 insightful talks, 93 speakers, and 14 demos/activations. The buzz around UK House was palpable as more than 10,000 delegates flocked to meet and hear from our country’s trailblazers over four days.

The future of the UK's advertising industry looks promising thanks to the Government's dedication to establishing strong international trade partnerships. The recent CPTPP trade deal, as well as separate deals signed with Australia and New Zealand, is set to unlock new opportunities for our advertising and marketing services industry to expand its global reach. It is crucial for both Government and industry to work together to support the country's reputation as the global hub of advertising.

In November, the Advertising Association and its thinktank Credos will be working with Enders Research to publish an in-depth breakdown of the export figures, including further analysis of growth factors and setting out their strategy for the next three years to build on this success.

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