Impressive UK ad export figures cements industry's position as a global powerhouse

UK advertising export figures reached £15.6 billion in 2022 according to the UK Advertising Exports Group, which has also appointed VCCP's Julian Douglas as chair

By creative salon

The latest UK advertising export figures for 2022 show a 15.5 per cent increase year-on-year to reach an impressive £15.6 billion, cementing the industry's position as a global powerhouse. The findings come from the UK Advertising Exports Group (UKAEG), an industry partnership with the UK Government that was launched in 2020 to help accelerate profile and lead generation opportunities in key international markets.

To support UKAEG’s work, Julian Douglas, International CEO and 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 think-tank 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.

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.

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 and 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 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 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, commented: “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, is set to delve into this data in detail, providing a comprehensive view of the industry's trajectory and its impact on the global advertising landscape.


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