Insights Immerse UK and Digital Catapult publish joint report on the UK’s immersive economy


Immerse UK and Digital Catapult recently published a co-authored report on ‘The immersive economy in the UK 2019’. The report identifies key factors driving growth in the UK’s immersive tech ecosystem and the barriers to the same, while also summarising the application of immersive technologies at both sector and geographical level across the UK.

The UK is considered to be a leader in the development of the augmented and virtual reality market – a global market that is estimated to reach a value of approximately £130 billion in 2023. The report analyses responses received from almost 200 organisations, spanning tech developers to R&D organisations, to paint a clearer picture of the make-up of the UK’s current immersive tech landscape.

The report highlights that there are around 1,250 specialist immersive tech firms operating in the UK, defined as companies “who generate over 50% of their revenue from the creation, development or production of immersive content, software or hardware, as well as consultancies that focus mainly on immersive technologies”. There are a further 4,500 companies that generate up to half of their turnover from immersive products and services despite immersive tech not being a key element of their overall businesses.

In terms of growth, 60% of the companies surveyed reported they had enjoyed an increase in revenue compared to the previous year, while 13% experienced a decrease in revenue. The majority of respondents (87%) stated that immersive tech had a positive impact on their organisation, either as an end-user of the tech or a solutions developer.

The rise of immersive tech also saw 65% of companies reporting that new opportunities in the form of markets and sectors had presented themselves thanks to the tech and that 92% expect to increase their spending on immersive technology over the next 12 months.

The application of immersive tech remains most commonplace amongst companies operating across the digital media and entertainment sectors but, over the next few years, other industries such as the financial, infrastructure, manufacturing and public sector are expected to significantly increase their investment in immersive technologies.

Despite the positive outlook, the report stresses that there are concerns and obstacles that will need to be overcome in order to achieve growth. One particular concern is the skills gap – almost half (45%) of the survey’s respondents stated that the recruitment of skilled individuals was a barrier to success and 23% cited a lack of skilled graduates from local universities as a concern. Further concerns include the lack of device adoption by consumers and the under development of industry standards.

The report can be accessed by clicking here.