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/ 19.11.2019

New Findings On The UK Immersive Tech Sector Out Today

Today, the second Immersive Economy in the UK report was published. This report, co-authored by Immerse UK and Digital Catapult, details the growth of the sector, its drivers and barriers, scale, nature, and economic value.

Almost 200 organisations were surveyed for the report, including distributors, technology developers, manufacturers, R&D organisations, service providers, trade bodies, associations, industry networks, and public funders.

Commenting on the report, Fiona Kilkelly, Immerse UK said: “The insights and evidence provided in this report will help to identify new opportunities and remove barriers to growth, ultimately realising the full potential of the sector and positioning our UK immersive tech businesses front and centre on an international stage.”

The UK is currently Europe’s largest market for virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), tapping into what is predicted to become a $160 billion immersive technologies market. There are currently around 1,250 active immersive specialist companies in the UK. Over 500 immersive technology projects were identified (either ongoing, open, or completed since 2018), worth over £220 million.

Dr. Jeremy Silver, CEO, Digital Catapult said: “This report shows the contributions these talented individuals and exceptional companies are making to the UK’s cultural digital economy as well as showing just how diverse the opportunities are for companies working with immersive tech as well as the investment opportunities on offer.”
Below are some of the key findings from the report. The report also offers a deep dive into different sectors including architecture, construction, engineering and manufacturing, entertainment, healthcare, training, and transport. 

Size

There are currently around 1,250 active immersive specialist companies in the UK—those who generate over 50% of their revenue from the creation, development or production of immersive content, software or hardware, as well as consultancies that focus mainly on immersive technologies.

In addition to these organisations, there are approximately 4,500 participant companies active within the immersive economy, generating up to 50% of their turnover from immersive products and services, but where immersive is not a core component of their overall business.

Location 

53% of the UK companies identified are based outside London. There are strong hubs of immersive technology activity in areas such as Bristol, North East, and Tees Valley, Manchester, Brighton and Northern Ireland. Increased technical infrastructure and support have helped these ecosystems grow, as has the support of local universities, accelerators, incubators, and local government.

Exporting 

62.3% of the companies surveyed for the report export products, services or content related to immersive technologies, including 63.5% of exporting companies selling to Europe, and 45.3% to the USA (24% of which export to both).

Challenges 

45% of respondents found that difficulty in recruiting talented individuals with the right skills was a blocker to success. 
54% of respondents said that low device adoption among consumers is a key barrier to growth for their organisation.
52% of respondents said that limited access to finance is a key barrier.
44% of respondents said that the current economic climate is a key barrier. 
48% of respondents said that untested business models and investment returns are barriers to growth for their organisation.

Growth

57.5% of those surveyed saw revenues higher than they were 12 months ago. However, growth is not across the board—with 29.2% seeing the same revenues, and 13.3% seeing lower revenues.

92% of respondents expect their spend on immersive technologies to grow in the next twelve months (most having spent between £1,000 and £10,000 over the last twelve months).


The 2019 Immersive Economy in the UK Report is supported by the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and Connected Places Catapult.

To find out more and download the report please visit: https://www.immerseuk.org/resources/immersive-economy-report-2019/

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