Eight key findings
1. The creative industries are a motor of growth in local economies across the UK, and not just in London and the South East of England: Regions from the South West, to Yorkshire and the Humber, to the West Midlands are also experiencing the benefits. Between 2011- 2014 and 2015-2016, the creative industries in the average local economy increased by 11 per cent, twice as fast as in the rest of the economy.
2. The creative industries concentrate in a small number of locations: 53 per cent of employment and 44 per cent of businesses are found in the top five locations (the equivalent percentages in other sectors are 32 per cent and 30 per cent respectively).
3. Although creative businesses are more productive than comparably sized businesses, they will not materially contribute to addressing the UK’s productivity problems unless they scale-up significantly. When we control for size, creative businesses tend to be more productive than companies in other sectors in almost all parts of the country. Ninety-four per cent of the companies in the sector are, however, micro-businesses (10 per cent more than in other sectors), which limits the sector’s ability to lift regional productivity.
4. Regional rivals should work together to grow their creative industries: For example, locations that saw their neighbours become more specialised in IT, software and computer services were almost 80 per cent more likely to become more specialised in that sub-sector too.
5. Not all creative clusters grow in the same way: We have segmented locations into five creative cluster models: incipient clusters, creative conurbations, creative districts, creative challengers and creative capitals.
6. The wider creative economy is also stronger in creative clusters: Our analysis of website data scraped by GlassAI, a big data startup, suggests that companies in non-creative industry sectors operating in creative clusters tend to be more creative too.
7. UK universities connect with creative industries locally and nationally: Research collaborations between universities and creative industries supported by Research Councils UK and Innovate UK are growing over time, with funding levels more than doubling between 2006 and 2017. Universities are collaborating with creative industries in their locality, in neighbouring areas and in other parts of the UK.
8. Creative communities are interconnected and the diversity of connections increases over time: We have identified 1,700 creative meet-ups in the UK with participation of over 180,000 unique individuals. These communities interact locally and with those around them forming hubs of activity in advertising and marketing in the West Midlands, crafts and making in the North West, and design across the South West and Wales.