UK tech exports set to surge to more than £31bn post-pandemic
The UK is expected to grow its digital exports to £31.45billion in the next five years as high-growth tech start-ups flourish post-pandemic and post-Brexit.
The country is now the fifth-biggest digital exporter in the world behind India, the US, China and Germany. It is also third in the world for the number of UK tech unicorns, and number one in Europe.
According to Tech Nation’s Unlocking Global Tech report, the UK contributed £23.3billion in digital tech exports in 2019 – and could grow this by more than £8billion by 2025.
UK digital tech services, which includes software services, telecoms, online retail, tech consultancy, e-commerce sales and cyber security, currently export a much greater value of goods than they import.
In 2019, the sector generated a surplus of 55 per cent – compared to 48 per cent globally.
And, over the last four years Britain’s digital tech trade surplus increased by 68 per cent – from £8.7billion in 2015 to £12.8billion in 2019.
This fast-growing sector is now only behind the insurance industry (£16.9billion) and financial services (£43.4billion).
Tech Nation’s Chief Executive Gerard Grech said by doubling exports, UK tech could contribute an additional £23billion to the economy a year by 2025.
“[The UK could] move up the ranks to become a top global exporter of tech,” he said.
“The UK is a natural home for many scaling tech businesses, and there are a proportionally high number of scaling tech businesses located here that are already well-established in delivering domestic tech services.”
The US was the biggest importer of global digital tech services last year, at £34billion, followed by Germany (£33billion) and China (£21billion).
India, Japan, and Brazil have seen the biggest growth in the level of tech services they import – by 29 per cent, 24 per cent and 17 per cent respectively between 2018 and 2019.
But the US and UK are first and second in the world for digital tech trading opportunities, according to the Tech Nation report.
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Online retail and e-commerce sales in Britain were valued at £688.4billion in 2018 – more than eight times that of France (£82billion).
For UK tech companies, Singapore and Brazil are the fastest-rising global opportunities for trade, climbing five and 17 places respectively in the country rankings for global tech opportunity between 2019 and 2020.
The rankings are determined by factors that contribute to the attractiveness of a location for doing business, with an emphasis on digital tech products and services.
Infrastructure, access to talent and education levels, ease of doing business, regulation, language and consumers were all considered.