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What distinguishes creative industry exporters? And does engaging in innovation, R&D and design matter?

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Post-Brexit, the UK government is keen to accelerate UK exporting, including in creative goods and services. To best support and expand exporting, it is vital to better understand the characteristics that distinguish businesses that export from those that don’t. It is also valuable to recognise businesses which have a greater potential for exporting. Such knowledge can be used to better design policy, target support and benefit the economy.

This paper identifies the characteristics that distinguish exporters from non-exporters among Creative Industries Organisations (CIOs). It also identifies the characteristics of high-intensity exporters, defined as those that earned at least a quarter – and typically half – of their sales income from exports. It does so by examining the responses from 625 CIOs, to the DCMS’s 2020 survey on new product and service development activities.

The paper finds that even very small CIOs export, including at high intensity. Tradability of outputs is found to matter most, as does productivity and innovation. Importantly, the paper notes exporting need not involve the development of ‘new to the market innovations’, and while creative Industry exporters tend to invest in R&D and/or design, the amounts invested are usually modest. Engaging in both R&D and design is more strongly associated with exporting than engaging in R&D alone.

In the conclusion the paper sets out how policymakers might further support creative industry exporting.


Image credit: Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

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