News 31 Mar 2017

Exports of cultural goods increased in EU countries, decreased in Finland

According to Eurostat’s statistics, the value of exports of cultural goods to countries outside the EU was nearly EUR 13 billion in 2014. The value of imports was close on EUR 11 billion. Exports grew by over 20 per cent from 2008, while imports decreased by nearly 14 per cent.

In Eurostat’s statistics, cultural goods are the products of artistic creativity that convey artistic, symbolic or aesthetic values such as works of art, antiques, books, newspapers, photos, films and music, as well as video games and consoles.     

Of cultural goods, works of art were exported most in 2014: the share was nearly 43 per cent. The share of books was over 20 per cent and that of antiques nearly 12 per cent. For imports, films, video games and consoles held the top position with a share of over 30 per cent. Works of art and books were imported the second most.

Cultural exports accounted for some 0.7 per cent of total exports of EU countries in 2014. The biggest exporter of cultural goods was the United Kingdom, whose share was almost 30 per cent of the value of cultural goods exports in the whole EU – including intra-EU exports. Germany came second and France third.

The share of cultural goods in the value of total exports was also highest in the United Kingdom, over two per cent. For other Member States, the shares remained under one per cent. The share of cultural imports in EU countries was, on average, 0.7 per cent of total imports, only in the United Kingdom, the share marginally exceeded one per cent of total imports.

The value of exports of Finland's cultural goods was EUR 95 million, that is, around 0.2 per cent of total exports in 2014. In 2008, this share was still 0.7 per cent. The value of imports of cultural goods in Finland was EUR 220 million, that is, around 0.4 per cent of total imports in 2014. The imports of cultural goods have also fallen from 2008.

If the entire field of creative industries is included, economic effects are even greater. For example, in the United Kingdom, the number of jobs in creative industries grew by nearly 20 per cent from 2011 to 2015, when these industries had two million jobs. The value of exports in creative industries was in 2014 nearly GBP 20 billion, or nearly 11 per cent more than in 2013.

The creative industries here include advertising and marketing, architecture, crafts, design and designer fashion, film, TV, video, radio, photography, IT, software and computer services, publishing, museums, galleries, libraries, and music and performing and visual arts.

Composition of trade in cultural goods varies much by country

Over 80 per cent of exports of cultural goods in Luxembourg and Liechtenstein consist of works of art. In Malta and Cyprus, the share of books is around 90 per cent of exports of cultural goods and in Latvia and Slovenia close to 70 per cent. In Estonia and Montenegro, newspapers and magazines account for around 60 to 70 per cent. The large share of exports of printed goods in these countries is explained by that many foreign publishers print their publications there.

The Netherlands stands out as the biggest exporter and importer of films, video games and consoles. Books form over one-half of cultural goods imports to Iceland and Malta.

Nearly one-half of Finland's cultural goods exports are comprised of newspapers and magazines and nearly one-third of books. Books account for good one-quarter of our cultural goods imports and films, video games and consoles for nearly one-quarter.

In 2014, over one-half of cultural goods exports of EU countries went to other EU countries, and similarly, over one-half of cultural goods imports came from inside the EU. In relative terms, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom exported most cultural goods outside the EU, and the Netherlands and the United Kingdom imported most from outside the EU. In these countries, the share of countries outside the EU was around 75 to 85 per cent of the value of exports or imports of cultural goods.

Around one-half of Finland's exports of cultural goods were headed to EU countries and one-half outside the EU. Nearly 90 per cent of our imports of cultural goods came from EU Member States.

Cultural statistics table service updated

The data are extracts from Statistics Finland’s cultural statistics table service and from Eurostat’s publication Culture statistics, 2016 edition. The data on creative industries in the United Kingdom are from the country’s official statistics.

The tables of Statistics Finland’s table service are updated four times per year and analysing articles are published in connection with the tables. Part of the tables and articles have now been updated. The tables are in Finnish and English, and the articles in Finnish. 

Cultural statistics table service

Table 14.17. Extra-EU trade in cultural goods, EU 28, 2008 and 2014

Table 14.18. Exports and imports of cultural goods in European countries by group of products 2014

Home page of Cultural Statistics

Culture statistics, 2016 edition

UK official statistics on creative industries

Further information: Jukka Ekholm +358 29 551 3370, Kaisa Weckström +358 29 551 2348,