Creative Radar 2021: the impact of COVID-19 on the UK's creative industries

Siepel, Josh, VelezOspina, Jorge, Camerani, Roberto, Bloom, Martha, Masucci, Monica and Casadei, Patrizia (2021) Creative Radar 2021: the impact of COVID-19 on the UK's creative industries. Other. Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre, London.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial ShareAlike.

Download (1MB)


This report provides new evidence on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses in the creative industries. Following on from the Creative Radar survey data, which collected responses from 976 firms in January-March 2020 just before the first lockdown, we interviewed 417 companies that consented to be re-contacted to understand how they had been impacted by the pandemic in April and May 2021. Our key findings are: • Only 4 per cent of the 675 companies we were able to contact had definitely closed or appeared to be no longer trading. The companies in our sample appear to have survived the crisis by furloughing employees and reducing the number of freelancers they worked with.
•The impact of the pandemic was very uneven. The Music & performing arts, Film & TV and Publishing businesses in our sample were particularly affected, in line with recent DCMS estimates. But some businesses thrived, with 18 per cent of businesses hiring more employees during the pandemic. These thriving companies were found across all creative sub-sectors.
•At the firm level we see that far from becoming redundant, freelancers have become even more vital to businesses that had been making greater use of them prior to the pandemic. Freelancers were important for those businesses that introduced new products as a result of the pandemic.
•At the firm level we did not see substantial regional and national differences in the impact of pandemic. The impacts of the pandemic appeared to be relatively evenly spread across the UK.
•Businesses in the UK’s creative clusters saw reduced turnover outside their immediate regions (from the rest of the UK and from overseas) but local and regional business appeared to keep them operating.
•The creative microclusters that are located outside of the major creative clusters, were more likely to have added new employees. In the past year they increased their sales to the rest of UK, rather than focusing only on local markets.
•Companies across the UK kept investing in their businesses through the pandemic, with 66 per cent of businesses increasing investments in R&D, design, marketing, training or IT. Companies in microclusters were more likely to have increased investment in R&D.
•More than 25 per cent of the companies in our sample changed or downsized office space during the pandemic. Companies in London were particularly likely to have downsized.
•The companies in our sample have substantial investment needs, with 78 per cent requiring further investment but 45 per cent of those not having the resources for those to invest. In particular, companies wanting to invest in R&D and design are more likely to export but also more likely to view access to finance as a barrier to growth.

Item Type: Reports and working papers (Other)
Additional Information: ISBN: 9781913095413
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 12 Aug 2021 08:04
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2022 12:18

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update
Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Centre of Excellence for Policy and Evidence in the Creative IndustriesG2602AHRC-ARTS & HUMANITIES RESEARCH COUNCILAH/S001298/1