The UK ad industry’s total exports have risen to £6.9 billion ahead of the country’s withdrawal from the European Union, the Advertising Association announced today. The findings, published in the trade group’s first ‘UK Advertising Exports’, report demonstrate the international strength of Britain’s advertising sector, as well as the potential dangers it faces as it prepares to cut ties with the EU.
The figures released in the report are somewhat delayed – the £6.9 billion figure applies to 2017, and represented 18 percent growth compared to 2016. As such, the figures don’t necessarily reflect how the market may have been affected by uncertainty around Brexit over the past year.
But the authors of the report say the strong growth shows that Britain’s ad industry remains attractive internationally, despite any uncertainty. The figures find Britain to be the largest net exporter of advertising services in Europe, with a balance of payments surplus for advertising of £3.8 billion. “As we approach the end of the beginning with regards to the UK leaving the EU, the advertising industry acts as a good indicator that any industry with world-leading skills, knowledge and knowhow is highly attractive even during uncertain political times,” said the Advertising Association in a statement.
The data does however show the importance of EU markets to the UK’s ad industry. In 2017, the UK exported £3.2 billion worth of advertising services to the EU, representing 55 percent of total ad exports. Many have warned of the damage that could occur if Britain leaves the EU without a deal. Enders Analysis for example said that the UK ad industry could face a recession if Britain leaves with no deal, with 2019 ad spend falling by three percent. Advertising is my city,
The Advertising Association says that it’s important that the UK continues to market itself internationally, regardless of what happens around Brexit. The association’s ‘exports champion’ James Murphy said it is “crucial that we champion our industry on the world stage and pursue bold policies in key areas like being open to overseas talent, ensuring a complementary regulatory environment and continuing to develop a strong exporting strategy.”