Image Gradient
BOP Consulting Logo | HomeButton
image gradient

Image Credit: Maksym Kaharlytskyi

Download Project Report

VIEW PDF

Have we missed an opportunity to bring an extra EUR 1 billion in exports of cultural goods each year?


The European Commission’s statistics arm, Eurostat, recently released data on exports of cultural goods. This includes works of art (paintings etc), books, recorded media, films and games, and photography (a full list is here).


The EU is a strong market for the UK, and it held up relatively well during the financial crisis, but since 2005 it has seen a 16% fall in the total value (Germany saw a 15% fall; France a 6% fall).




But recent growth in the UK’s exports of culture goods has come from outside the EU – a 26% increase since 2005. The UK’s export growth since 2009 is particularly striking. As an absolute figure, we are a long way ahead of the comparator countries we have included – Germany and France.




And overall, the EU is not nearly as important a market for us in these areas as it is for the other countries. Because of our extra-EU growth, it is becoming less important. A quarter of our cultural goods exports are to the EU. In comparison, over two-thirds of German exports are.




There are two ways of looking at this. The first might be that, if this is the case, a decline in trade to the EU as a result of Brexit may not be a disaster as this is a relatively small proportion of overall trade.


A second (which we subscribe to) is that this data shows the huge missed opportunity that a stronger focus on European markets could have brought us. We made similar arguments here.


If we had seen the same growth with our EU trading partners that we have with the rest of the world, that would have resulted in an extra EUR 1 billion in exports each year. With Brexit, it looks even harder for the UK’s creative businesses to realise this opportunity.

The missing billion

The UK’s exports of cultural goods

Aug 10, 2016

Green Cities helping climate change through culture and sustainability

Nov 4, 2021

How are major cities around the world responding to climate change through cultural policies and programmes?

The Green World Cities of Tomorrow: Culture and Sustainability

Paul Owens

Culture and the Climate Emergency

Apr 22, 2021

5 Priorities for World Cities in the post-covid recovery period

Culture and the Climate Emergency

Paul Owens

Culture and the Recovery: Levelling Up Culture?

Dec 4, 2020

Culture can play an important role in recovery and renewal across the UK, if the right local decision-making is put in place

Culture and the Recovery: Levelling Up Culture?

Callum Lee

Central London’s celebrated

Sep 23, 2020

This focused, coordinated set of measures can not only rescue the sector, but position it to lead the recovery

Central London’s celebrated cultural offer is in peril

Jonathan Todd

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #3

Aug 21, 2020

Three big questions as applications close for Arts Council England’s Cultural Recovery Fund

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #3

Paul Owens

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #2

Jul 30, 2020

The UK’s £1.57 billion recovery package: priorities for a New Deal

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #2

Paul Owens

COVID-19: Cities, Culture and the 3 ‘P’s: powers, partnerships, place

Jul 20, 2020

Cities are using their unique capabilities to lead recovery and renewal

COVID-19: Cities, Culture and the 3 ‘P’s: powers, partnerships, place

Paul Owens

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #1

Jul 7, 2020

Investing in recovery, planning for transformation

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #1

Paul Owens

COVID-19 is a triple blow to culture and the creative industries

Jun 30, 2020

Recovery and renewal will depend on how we address the three dimensions of the crisis

COVID-19 is a triple blow to culture and the creative industries

Paul Owens

Take planning and collaboration to whole a new level.

Jun 3, 2020

In the face of radical uncertainty leaders and policy-makers will have to take planning and collaboration to whole a new level

‘Plans are useless, planning is essential’

Paul Owens

Relief, Recovery and Renewal

May 13, 2020

Nobody knows what will happen next, but we have a good idea of the three necessary steps out of the crisis

Relief, Recovery and Renewal: navigating our way to a new kind of future

Paul Owens

The Golden Thread in the 2020s

Dec 20, 2019

A cause for optimism

Weaving the Golden Thread into the 2020s

Paul Owens

Related Articles

By BOP Consulting

Callum Lee

Managing Director

Callum leads the BOP team, its portfolio and strategic partnerships. His cultural and creative industries expertise is founded on leading analytical research and policy formulation in the UK and internationally.

Callum Lee - Managing Director  | BOP Consulting

Planning a new project?

If you are interested to learn more about our work or if you have a project you would like to discuss, get in touch.

SHARE ARTICLE
Callum Lee

Callum Lee

Managing Director