DBI survey shows UK design in mixed fortunes
LONDON - British Design Innovation's annual survey of the UK design industry has shown some mixed results this year, revealing turnover and employees are down, but overseas income is on the up.
Turnover overall fell by 6% from £4.6bn to £4.3bn, with most growth coming in the mid-sized companies, suggesting that smaller, newer companies and freelances are struggling.
Employee numbers for 2005/2006 are also down, this time by 8.4%. Over half the industry is still made up of companies with five or fewer staff. However, this has been falling over the past three years, down from 58% in 2003/2004 to 51% in 2005/2006.
The good news is that overseas income is up by 19% on last year to £800m, ahead of where it was in 2002/2003 when the industry took a tumble.
London remains the largest design region in the UK, accounting for a third of all companies. The market share across all regions has remained relatively static, with only East of England showing a drop from 10% to 8%, picked up by the East Midlands moving from 5.4% to 7%.
Business-to-business design continues to show growth as did the sector last year, up by 6%. BDI suggest this may also reflect a heightened awareness and engagement of areas such as emerging service design.
Now in its sixth year, the BDI annual survey is the only industry-wide review that specifically focuses on the UK commercial design sector. The survey uses a base of 4,500 commercial design firms, and more than 1,500 design firms, representing over a third of the sector, participated in the 2005/2006 survey. It is supported by UK Trade and Investment.
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