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UK advertising exports reach £18bn in 2023

4 min read Partner content

UK celebrates the ‘Business of Creativity’ at Cannes Lions

UKAEG partnered with VCCP to create a campaign at Cannes to celebrate the UK’s number of wins at Cannes Lions last year
UKAEG partnered with VCCP to create a campaign at Cannes to celebrate the UK’s number of wins at Cannes Lions last year

Cannes, France / London, UK, June 18, 2024: New UK advertising exports figures, published today at Cannes Lions, show a 15% increase to reach £18bn in 2023, four times higher than the equivalent figure a decade ago.1 Analysis undertaken by UK advertising think tank Credos for the UK Advertising Exports Group (UKAEG) shows the UK is the second biggest global exporter of advertising, market research and public opinion polling services, closing the gap on the number 1 exporter, the US, from $4.7bn to $3bn.2

Credos also revealed that the UK exports more advertising than it does engineering, telecommunications, legal, accounting, audio-visual, or architectural services, based on the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The US remains the largest market for UK advertising services in terms of individual country exports, importing over £3.4bn worth of UK advertising, followed by Germany (£1.2bn) and France (£1bn). Exports going to Europe (including both EU and non-EU countries) account for 63% (£11.4bn) of UK advertising exports.

Creativity, talent and reputation are at the heart of UK advertising’s exports success story, according to PwC,3 alongside the UK’s location enabling it to transcend time zone differences with Asia and America.

The UK Advertising Exports Group (UKAEG) is advancing the UK’s ambitions as an export powerhouse at this week’s Cannes Lions with over 30 events planned under the ‘Business of Creativity’ programme, designed to help unlock growth opportunities. UKAEG is supported by its 50+ members from across the industry and the Advertising Association, APA, BPMA, and the IPA.

Julian Douglas, Chair of the UK Advertising Exports Group (UKAEG) and Group CEO at VCCP, said: “The UK advertising industry’s talent for effectiveness and innovation is a global success story, transforming businesses around the world. We’re excited to showcase our world leading creativity at Cannes Lions this year, and look forward to celebrating record breaking export figures with our colleagues and clients from across the industry.”

Stephen Woodford, CEO, Advertising Association, said: “The UK has a world-leading reputation for advertising creativity, strategy and effectiveness and is the second largest exporter of advertising services globally, showing continued strong growth in 2023. Our UKAEG industry alliance goes from strength to strength and we look forward to working in partnership with the industry and the next UK government, to support a second decade of higher growth.”

Aisling Conlon, International Trade Director for UK Advertising, Advertising Association, said: “The result of £18 billion in exports demonstrates the power of UK advertising. UKAEG is delighted to champion the business of creativity at Cannes Lions this year, a unique platform that celebrates our achievements and explores new avenues for global growth and collaboration. With the most advertising awards per capita, UKAEG is committed to maintaining the UK as the global hub for advertising excellence and innovation.”

The international advertising, media and associated creative industries meet every June in Cannes, where the world’s best commercial creativity is reviewed and awarded by the world’s most respected creative talent. UK Advertising has remained in the top three awarded countries at LIONS since the tally was introduced in 2005 and is the most awarded advertising hub per capita. The UK won 106 awards at Cannes Lions 2023, according to AA data, placing us second only to the USA.

For a full list of events and to join UK Advertising at Cannes Lions 2024, head to the website. For those interested in joining the UK Advertising Exports Group at their future events, such as SXSW, please email Aisling.Conlon@adassoc.org.uk


All references to advertising exports in this document also encompass market research and public opinion polling.

  1. A decade ago, in 2013, the UK exported £4.3bn worth of advertising services, according to the ONS.
  2. International Trade in Services EBOPS 2010 (by partner country), International Trade in Services EBOPS 2010 (by partner country), OECD (2022).
  3. Research by PWC, commissioned by the Advertising Association in 2020.

The latest export figures were taken from the Office of National Statistics’ (ONS) UK trade in services: service type by partner country, non-seasonally adjusted dataset (26th April 2024 release) which can be found here. ONS regularly revises figures based on improved data, so the figures are not comparable to previously published figures. 

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