UK digital economy larger than previously thought

The UK's digital economy is 40 per cent larger than Government statistics suggest, according to a report by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR).

The report, commissioned by Google, revealed just how far-reaching the digital sector has become, with manufacturing, architecture and engineering now embracing digital technology.

Key statistics from the report include:

  • 270,000 companies make up the digital economy, while the Government recognises 187,600
  • digital companies are experiencing revenue growth at a rate 25 per cent faster than non-digital companies
  • digital employers employ three more people - 15 per cent on average - than non-digital companies.

The NIESR called the Government's 65 year-old classification system 'out-dated' and said that hundreds of thousands of digital companies could be missing out on vital support.

Senior researcher at the NIESR, Dr. Max Nathan, said: "Policymakers have identified the digital economy as one of the UK's key economic strengths. That means they need to be aware of the true numbers of digital businesses around the country. The old image of tech businesses as start-ups that make no money is out of date too: using big data we show a broad array of active businesses selling digital products and services."