This article was published before we became the Chartered Institute of Export & International Trade on 10 July 2024, and this is reflected in references to our old brand and name. For more information about us becoming Chartered, visit our dedicated webpage on the change here.

services words on globe

Data released by the EU stats office, Eurostat, have shown that the UK continues to be the single biggest exporter of services from the EU, accounting for 22% (EUR 183 billion) of the services sold by the trading bloc.

The next highest levels of exports to non-member countries were recorded in Germany (EUR 126 billion), France (EUR 96 billion), Ireland (EUR 65 billion) and the Netherlands (EUR 56 billion).

The UK is also the third biggest importer of services, behind Ireland and Germany.

In terms of intra-EU trade, Germany recorded the largest value of services exports to other EU Member States (EUR 128 billion), followed by France and the United Kingdom (both EUR 118 billion).

On average, international trade in services accounted for nearly 30% of the EU's transactions of goods and services with non-member countries. Nevertheless, during the last five years for which data are available (2012-2016), growth for the EU’s international trade in services was higher than for international trade in goods, suggesting that international transactions in services are becoming increasingly important to the performance of the EU economy.

Eurostat note: "Services play an important role in all modern economies. A resilient tertiary service sector, as well as an increased availability of services, may boost economic growth and enhance industrial performance. In an increasingly globalised world, services such as finance, insurance, transport, logistics and communications deliver key intermediate inputs and thereby provide crucial support to the rest of the economy."

Service sector at a glance:

In 2015:

  • The economic output of the service industries was worth £1.3 trillion, 80% of all economic output
  • Manufacturing output was worth £162 billion, 10% of the total
  • Construction output was worth £102 billion, 6% of the total

Source: ONS - Blue Book

In 2016:

  • There were 2,448,600 people employed in the manufacturing sector in the UK
  • In contrast there were 25,572,400 employed in services industries (made up of motor trades, retail and wholesale, transport and storage, accommodation and food, IC, finance and insurance, real estate, professional and support services, health and education and 'other' services)

Source: ONS - Broad Industry Group (SIC) - Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES)


Interested in learning more about the service sector?

The Institute's Selling Services, Software and Skills Overseas course provides students with an extensive understanding of both managing the intangibility of any service and delivering effective services overseas. The course is appropriate for any student of either a pure services or a manu-service business environment. 

Students will be guided through critical features such as analysing and developing a service, International issues when delivering services overseas, selection of appropriate methods of delivering services locally and managing the service process.

Find out more