This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 8/1/2019
The UK is one of the world’s largest information communication technology (ICT) markets, with the country being in 2nd place in the ranking of ICT spending per head (U.S. is #1).  The UK ICT sector covers digital goods and services including audio-visual (AV); e-commerce; telecommunications; IT, software and computer and cloud services; artificial intelligence (AI); augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR); financial technology (FinTech); the internet of things (IOT)/smart cities and cyber security.  Due to the importance of this industry segment, the UK market for cyber security is dealt in a separate best prospect.

The UK ICT sector contributed $160 billion to the UK economy in 2016, increasing by over 20 % from 2011. The sector also accounts for 5% of all UK jobs. Imports of services by the UK ICT sector were almost $25 billion in 2016, accounting for 14% of total UK service imports – approximately half of the imports were from the U.S.

Leading Sub-Sectors

IT, Software and Computer and Cloud Services
This subsector contributed over $45bn to the UK economy in 2016. About 100,000 software companies operate in the UK including major U.S. firms such as Microsoft, IBM and HP. Also the UK datacenter market is the largest in Europe generating new sources of demand for ICT providers.

Artifical Intelligence (AI)
In April 2018, the UK Government unveiled an artificial intelligence deal worth over $1.3 billion, which is backed by 50 leading tech firms and nearly $400 million of private investment.

Augmented Reality and Virtual reality (AR/VR)
The UK Government has announced an investment of up to $47 million in areas including virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality.  The announcement forms part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, which includes plan to grow artificial intelligence and data-driven economy. The UK is currently the largest market for VR/AR in Europe.  

London is one of the world’s leading financial centers and a global hub for fintech innovation, advancement, and disruption.  The market benefits from a major presence of financial firms from around the world and consistently attracts a high quality, diverse pool of financial services talent.  The UK’s regulatory bodies, including the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Bank of England are praised by industry for their open, welcoming policies that foster innovation and support cutting edge, disruptive technologies. 

IOT /Smart Cities

IOT technolgy and services in the UK are growing rapidly specifically in applications within the heatlcare, energy, transport, public sector and manufacturing industries. IOT/smart city projects are exceptionally well supported in the United Kingdom. The potential of London’s smart city market alone could reach $13.4 billion by 2020. The UK government is pushing for rapid and sustainable partnerships to realize its vision for future cities. The immense growth in this initiative is creating many opportunities for U.S. companies.



Opportunities exist to supply organizations of all sizes -- from SME to large corporations--  with major opportunities found in industries with large IT spending e.g financial, utilities, manufacturing, public sector, retail.
Cloud computing offers significant growth opportunities: almost all software companies in the UK are using cloud and opportunities exist in both the public and private sectors for companies offering cloud or linked services. The UK governmnet has been strongly supporting the adoption of cloud technologies over the past years with the G-Cloud frameworks allowing the government to buy directly from suppliers after reaching an agreement on basic terms of use.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning also present substantial prospects with the UK being home to some of the biggest names in the business such as Deepmind, Swiftkey and Babylon.

VR is the fastest growing segment of the UK’s entertainment and media sector and growth will be driven by a second wave of hardware that is easier to use, better supported and competitively priced.

FinTech is an area of growth and opportunity in the UK market, particularly in the subsector areas of blockchain and insurtech.
IOT opportunities stretches across a variety of UK sectors including health and social care, power & utilities, transport, public sector, and manufacturing.

The UK ICT market is open with many U.S. companies operating successfully in the UK.  Existing regulatory arrangements for the ICT sector are largely driven by the European Commission’s Digital Single Market (DSM). The DSM includes initiatives on free flow of data; cyber security; e-Privacy; setting ICT standards; and intellectual property. Information can be obtained from the UK Information Commissioner’s Office. For information regarding issues relating to the hosting of personally identifiable information overseas, visit the U.S. Department of Commerce Privacy Shield website.

Web Resources

UK IT Association (UKIT)

For further information, please contact:
Claudia Colombo
Commercial Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service
Tel: +44 (0)20 7891 3443

Prepared by the International Trade Administration. With its network of more than 100 offices across the United States and in more than 75 markets, the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting

Information and Communication Technology Trade Development and Promotion