A new report by Tech Nation has found that the UK was the 5th greatest digital tech services exporter in the world, at £23.3bn in 2019, sitting behind India, the USA, China and Germany in the global rankings.
This position is driven by a relatively high number (7,497) of high growth exporting tech companies in the UK, many of which are yet to realise their full exporting potential.
UK digital tech services currently export a much greater value of goods than they import, generating a significant trade surplus of 55% in 2019. This compares favourably to the average trade surplus among the top 57 countries globally, which is 48%. UK digital tech trade surplus has increased by 68% over the last four years – from £8.7bn in 2015to £12.8bn in 2019 – now just behind the Insurance sector (£16.9bn) and Financial Services (£43.4).
The report also shows that the US was the biggest importer of global digital tech services in 2019, valued at £34bn, followed by Germany at £33bn and China at £21bn. India, Japan, and Brazil have seen the biggest growth in the level of tech services they import – by 29%, 24% and 17% respectively between 2018 and 2019.
According to recent projections (Oxford Economics, August 2020), digital tech is currently on the path to boosting exports by an additional £8.15bn, bringing total digital tech exports to £31.45bn by 2025.
Exports Minister Graham Stuart comments: “Today technology plays a vital role in almost all sectors and its importance has only increased during the pandemic. So, it’s unsurprising that the sector is and will continue to drive our economic recovery.
“With UK digital tech exports projected to grow by 35% by 2025, this report shows the potential UK exporters have in the sector. The trade agreements that we are currently negotiating will create an exciting future, allowing businesses to export their goods and services across the world more easily.
“London Tech Week is a fantastic opportunity for British businesses to showcase their talent and provide innovative solutions to the challenges we face. Our tech innovators come from every region of the UK, in fact 25% of Europe’s cities with the highest investment in technology last year are located here in the UK, proving the strength of our world-class tech sector.”