UK tech sector grows 6x faster than the wider economy

7 Feb 2020 02:14 PM

New figures from DCMS show the UK’s digital and tech sector continues to be an economic bright spot.

New figures from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) show the UK’s digital and tech sector continues to be an economic bright spot, outperforming the economy at large and continuing to expand amidst the backdrop of slowed economic growth in the UK and across Europe.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) released new gross value added (GVA) figures detailing the growth of the digital sector, as well the contributions of other DCMS sectors to the overall UK economy.

The digital sector added £149 billion to the overall UK economy in 2018, more than £400 million per day and accounting for 7.7% of the UK economy. The sector grew 7.9% from 2017 to 2018, nearly six times faster than the economy as a whole, which grew at a rate of 1.4%.

Computer programming, consultancy and related activities had the strongest performance, growing 10.6% from 2017 to 2018, and accounting for 2.9% of the UK’s GVA in 2018, a total value of £53 billion, and making up 36.7% of the digital sector.

The telecoms sector also saw a strong performance, adding £36 billion, or 2% of GVA to the UK’s economy while also growing at a rate of 5.8%.

A number of other sectors saw extremely strong growth numbers, including: ‘manufacturing of electronics and computers’ at 15% growth from 2017 to 2018; ‘wholesale of computers and electronics’ at 10.9%; and ‘information service activities’ at 15.1%.

Nearly all remaining digital sub-sectors saw strong growth, ranging from the ‘film, tv, video, radio and music’ sector at 3.1% growth, to publishing and software publishing, both growing at a 3.5% rate. While these numbers are at the lower end, they are still more than double the UK overall growth rate.

The DCMS GVA numbers paint a picture of a robust and strong digital and tech sector that has consistently outpaced the rest of the UK’s economy, driving overall growth and demonstrating a clear potential for continued expansion and future productivity gains.  Moving forward, it will be of utmost importance to ensure that the tech and digital sector continues to grow.

This will require further commitments by both government and industry to continue to develop regional clusters, build out essential infrastructure, and invest in digital skills.

Responding to the release of the figures techUK CEO Julian David said:

“Today’s figures show that the UK’s digital sector continues to be the UK’s modern success story. techUK wants to see these successes felt in every community up and down the country, levelling up on skills, investment and opportunities.  

“To guarantee the UK’s future as one of the world’s most significant digital economies it is vital that we act now to ensure that, we have the digital infrastructure and skills needed to take advantage of what is a huge growth sector. We must also pursue an independent trade policy that has digital at its heart whilst cementing our close collaboration with our European friends and partners.”

You can read DCMS’s press release here, while the full released figures can be found here.