Boom in UK advertising exports to US ‘pick up slack’ from EU drop

Boom in UK advertising exports to US ‘pick up slack’ from EU drop
Julian Douglas: appointed chair of the UK Advertising Exports Group

A surge in exports to the US has helped the UK advertising sector grow its exports to other countries by 16% last year, despite a “drop” in services sold to the rest of Europe.

The UK exported £15.6bn in advertising and market research services in 2022, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics and the advertising industry’s thinktank Credos.

While this represented double-digit growth of 15.5%, it’s a significantly slower than in 2021 when the sector bounced back strongly after Covid-19 shocks.

Most exports in Q2 2023 went to EU nations (£2.1bn), followed by the US (£878m) and Ireland (£310m). This positive growth, the AA said, can be “attributed partly” to the growing number of UK advertising and market research companies “engaging in international activities”.

When asked if this demonstrates the advertising industry is “more insulated” from the impact of Brexit than other sectors, a spokesperson for the AA said: “No, because EU imports did drop but US imports increased which took up some of the slack. We will need to go through the data to confirm this, but this is what we observed for the last report earlier in the year.”

The number of companies in the advertising and market research category has remained “largely stable” since 2016 and currently sits at 23,095, and one-third of these export services which could be a “significant untapped potential for growth”.

The UK Advertising Exports Group (UKAEG), now chaired by former IPA president and VCCP international CEO, plans on multiple trade missions in 2024 and will focus on international markets such as the United States, China, India, and the Middle East/North Africa region.

Douglas said: “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.”

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