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Press releases

UK advertising exports reached £15.6bn in 2022

Advertising Association

7 min read Partner content

Exports Minister praises UK’s world-leading creative industries

UK advertising exports group affirms its commitment to global new business drive with appointment of VCCP’s Julian Douglas as chair

The latest advertising export figures for 2022 show a 15.5% increase year-on-year to reach an impressive £15.6 billion, cementing the industry's position as a global powerhouse. These latest figures come ahead of a packed programme for International Trade Week (November 6-9), hosted by the Department of Business and 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, Julian Douglas, International CEO & Vice Chairman, VCCP, 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 (2021 – 2023). He succeeds James Murphy, Founder/CEO at New Commercial Arts.

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

Over the past six years, the industry has experienced significant growth, with exports increasing from £7.1 billion in 2016 to £15.6 billion 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 UK Advertising Exports Group (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. UKAEG’s new 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.

Julian Douglas, International CEO & Vice Chairman, VCCP & UKAEG Chair said: "By joining forces with the UK Advertising Exports Group and the Department for Business and Trade, 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."

Lord Offord, Minister for Exports said: "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 advertising 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."

Stephen Woodford, CEO, Advertising Association, 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. Prior to this, James Murphy, co-founder of NCA and previously of adam&eve, was our ‘exports champion’ and in him we were lucky to have another exemplary ambassador of the best of our business and we are very grateful to James for his support for our exports work.”

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

Reflecting on the forecast and the crucial role of the advertising industry in the UK’s economic growth, Aisling Conlon, Director of International Trade, UKAEG said: “With government and industry collaboration, backed up by action in trade missions, the advertising sector has the potential to drive growth in the next decade and ensure it remains one of the UK's most valuable exports.”

The preliminary export data paints a compelling picture of the UK advertising 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.


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 (26 October 2023 release) which can be found here. ONS regularly revises figures based on improved data, so the figures are not comparable to previously published figures. 

The total number of registered advertising and marketing companies (i.e. classified under the division code 73) in the UK is taken from the ONS dataset: UK business: activity, size and location 2023 edition (27 September 2023) which can be found here.

The percentage of exporters was obtained by dividing the number of companies estimated to be engaged in exporting by the number of companies classified under division code 73. This data was obtained from the following ONS dataset - Exporters and importers by industry breakdown (Annual Business Survey) (1 June 2023 release) which can be found here.

About Julian Douglas:

Dougie (as he is called by everyone except his parents) has over 25 years' experience in the industry, cutting his teeth at WCRS, BBH, TBWA and Grey before joining VCCP in 2008 to head up the agency’s founding account, O2. Since then he has helped create many award-winning campaigns for national and international brands and today is responsible for the agency’s global offering as International CEO and Vice Chairman.

A passionate believer in advertising as a force for good, he is an active member of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) Council where he was IPA President 2021-2023, the UK Advertising Export Champion at UKAEG, sits on the Meta UK Client Council and is Chair of Black Representation in Marketing (BRiM).

Beyond the industry, he is an Independent Trustee at the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) and Co-Founder of Lucky Voice, the UK’s premier private karaoke company that he launched with VCCP Global CSO Jonny Shaw in 2006.

For further information, please contact: 

Matt Bourn, Director of Communications

Mariella Brown, Communications Manager  

About UKAEG   

The UK Advertising Exports Group is an industry partnership with UK Government to accelerate profile and lead generation opportunities in key international markets.  It is supported by the Advertising Association, the IPA, APA, and the BPMA, and the Creative Industries Council.

Following a successful launch year in 2020, UKAEG has continued to raise the profile of British creative, media and digital companies around the world.

The group also undertakes annual research into UK advertising exports each year, which highlights the importance of UK advertising to the economy.

About the Advertising Association 

The Advertising Association promotes the role and rights of responsible advertising - trusted, inclusive and sustainable – and its value to people, society, businesses, and the economy. Responsible businesses understand that there is little point in an advertisement that people cannot trust. That's why, over 50 years ago, the Advertising Association led UK advertising towards a system of independent self-regulation which has since been adopted around the world. There are nearly thirty UK trade associations representing advertising, media and marketing. Through the Advertising Association they come together with a single voice when speaking to policy makers and influencers. 


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