Key UK manufacturing figures of 2018

Posted on 9 Jan 2019 by Maddy White

As British companies prepare for uncertainties surrounding the UK's departure from the European Union in March, TM reports the latest manufacturing figures of 2018.

Brand Britain Made in Britain - image courtesy of Depositphotos
UK manufacturing sector accelerated to a six-month high in December- image courtesy of Depositphotos.

According to the most recent PMI results, UK manufacturing accelerated to a six-month high in December.

Latest statistics also show that the demand for UK goods and services overseas continued to increase, as exports in the year to October 2018 rose to £626bn.

There has been a shift in who Britain trades with; ten years ago more than half of British exports went to the EU, 54.2% now go to non-EU countries.

Brand Finance’s annual report published in October placed the UK up one place to number four in the top 20 most valuable global brands, as British manufacturing continued to lead industry.

Sector focus on…


In 2018, the British government announced a £10bn Aerospace Sector Deal that builds on the UK’s excellence and heritage in aerospace. 1,389 commercial aircraft were delivered by global manufacturers in the first 11 months of 2018, these worth up to an estimated £26bn to UK industry.

Over the year, TM has reported on the newly launched Aviation Strategy that sets out the future for the British aerospace industry, Rolls-Royce’s plans to create the fastest electric aircraft ever and reporter Marc Hauschild analysed how Sharing in Growth helps UK aerospace benefit from rising OEM revenues.


The UK automotive industry saw its exports to Asia up 21%£20m announced for a UK electric vehicle data centreconversations surrounding autonomous and electric vehicles peak and Editorial director, Nick Peters, visited McLaren Automotive to understand how the best of the best in automotive is manufactured.

The project to make the world’s most advanced straight-line supersonic car, Bloodhound, was axed due to lack of funding. However a Yorkshire entrepreneur then purchased the project meaning its future is now secure.  


Digital technologies could unlock £56bn for UK food and drink industry - image courtesy of Depositphotos.
Food and drink exports hit a record high of £10.6bn – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

Food and drink exports hit a record high of £10.6bn in the first half of 2018, this up by 4% compared to the previous year.

Over 2018, TM has reported on the popularity and process of gin, the robot revolution in farming and how the biggest sector in UK manufacturing has called for more support.

We’ve covered how to make smoked salmon, visited a brewery and discussed the current threats and opportunities in the sector.

Bristol-based Accolade Wines won Manufacturer of The Year in November at industry’s most coveted awards, The Manufacturer MX Awards 2018, and digital reporter, Maddy White learnt about the space-efficient benefits of flat wine bottles.

Latest figures for UK manufacturing in 2018:

  • Exports in the year to October 2018 rose to £626bn.
  • 54.2% of all exports now go to non-EU countries.
  • The economy is now 17.8% bigger since 2010.
  • The US remained the Britain’s top single export destination, with exports increasing to £114bn in the year to 2018 (Q3).
  • £59bn – Goods exports from the Northern Powerhouse increased by 2.1% in the year to 2018 (Q3).
  • £56bn – Goods exports from the Midlands Engine increased by 6.1% in the year to 2018 (Q3).
  • The number of VAT-registered businesses exporting goods in the UK increased by 1.5% to 110,000 in 2018 (Q3) compared to the same quarter in the previous year.
  • Exports to ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) increased by 10.4% in the first half of 2018.
  • The UKs tech sector has received over £5bn in venture capitalist funding between June 2016 and June 2018, more than France, Germany and Sweden combined.
  • 2017/2018 saw 75,968 new jobs created as a result of Foreign Direct Investment, as the UK remained the top destination for FDI in Europe.

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