HomeInsightsDepartment for Culture, Media and Sport publishes figures showing UK digital and tech firms are powering ahead in global trade race

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The figures show that UK digital firms have seen their international trade grow by more than 20%. The digital sector exported more than £39 billion in services in 2016, up from £32 billion in 2015, as UK firms capitalised on the rapid digitisation of the world economy. The Government says this is unprecedented growth of 21.8% year-on-year and shows Britain is well placed to seize the future trading opportunities linked to cutting-edge technology.

Exports of goods in the digital sector, in which figures are based on the types of products rather than business activity, were also strong. This includes products such as software and manufactured electronics and computers (rather than computer programming), consultancy, and information services. Exports of goods by the digital sector were up 7.3% and worth more than £15 billion.

The Government says it is supporting the technology sector through its Digital and Industrial Strategies, with almost £1 billion of investment in artificial intelligence, competitive tax relief, a commitment to spend 2.4% of GDP on research and development, as well as skills and business mentoring initiatives such as Tech Nation.

The statistics also show strong international growth in the creative industries, which includes publishing, advertising and marketing as well as film, TV, radio and photography.

Exports of services in the creative industries by UK firms grew more than 27% between 2015 and 2016, and they are worth more than £27 billion.

Overall, DCMS sectors continue to outperform the rest of the economy. Total year-on-year growth in exports of services in all DCMS sectors outstripped the growth of the UK as a whole by more than double, up 21.4% versus 8.8%. To read the DCMS press release in full and for a link to the statistics, click here.