New findings reveal that the UK’s largest digital technology industry is 25% larger than previously thought

25th June 2019

New findings reveal that the UK's largest digital technology industry is 25% larger than previously thought

A new census, published by The Data City, reveals for the first time that the digital technology industry in the UK is over 25% larger than previously thought.

The Data City is a Data as a Service (DaaS) company that uses open data, the web and artificial intelligence to create robust, real-time data relating to the economy and innovation in the UK.


It uses a brand new approach, with unique technology which enables it to map, for the first time, emerging UK sectors such as artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT).

This week it publishes the first 2019 Digital Technology Census, which shows the true number of companies active in digital technology by measuring emerging sectors which have previously not been quantified.

This is because companies previously classified as, for example, manufacturing, are now also embracing new technologies such as IoT, digital and fintech.

To uncover these findings, the Data City created Real Time Industrial Classification (RTIC) codes – which provide insight on sectors not represented in the Standard Industry Classification (SIC codes) used by Companies House.

It analysed the 4.06 million active companies in the UK, using artificial intelligence to monitor their websites and digital footprints to correctly identify areas of activity.

It then classified the data geographically to reveal the top 29 cities in the UK, looking at active businesses combined with the number of events and meetups held, to find the most thriving innovation communities by industry sector, and demonstrated the findings in an interactive online map.

The census provides a clearer picture of the UK innovation landscape, to help inform business and public sector decision-making around investment and growth. It evaluates eight main sectors: artificial intelligence & data, eCommerce, cyber, digital (as a sector in its own right), gaming, Internet of Things, MedTech and fintech.

The top ten cities overall according to the new census are:

  • London
  • Manchester
  • Reading
  • Brighton
  • Milton Keynes
  • Birmingham
  • Leeds
  • Bristol
  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow

However, when focusing exclusively on the emerging digital technology sectors, removing well-established ‘traditional’ digital and data businesses and concentrating on advanced digital businesses, other innovation hotspots were highlighted.

Although London still leads the way, closely followed by Manchester, Birmingham takes third place overall with particular strengths in eCommerce.

In this specific emerging digital technology area, we can see even more clearly the limitations of the SIC code classifications, with over 58% more organisations found using The Data City’s RTIC formula.

Other key findings show that:

  • London clearly leads the UK digital technology rankings for events and organisations, with Manchester (2nd) and Reading (3rd)
  • London and Manchester are leading the way on emerging sectors driving the new global technology economies of the fourth industrial revolution
  • Smaller cities also rank highly overall, with particular areas of excellence in key sectors
  • Reading is third overall, and second in digital, cyber and IoT technologies
  • Brighton ranks fourth overall but third in digital and gaming
  • Leeds has good representation in all areas and ranks third in gaming
  • Milton Keynes has particular strengths in digital, eCommerce and cyber
  • Both of Scotland’s largest cities score highly, with Edinburgh 9th and Glasgow 10th overall, but Edinburgh 4th in fintech.

Alex Craven, co-founder of The Data City said: “The 2019 Digital Technologies Census provides the clearest picture yet of the digital technology landscape in the UK. Using data from Companies House and individual businesses’ own websites, it shows how active the community is across eight main sectors, and allows comparison between cities and regions.

“Our new classifications allow us to ascertain levels of activity in emerging sectors that have never previously been fully evaluated, making this a methodology for the 21st century.

“The Data City has created a useful tool for businesses, investors and public sector policymakers. Using real-time data such as ours to identify areas of strength can help inform innovation policy, provide an objective basis for investment and inform individual business decisions such as where to locate.”

For the full story please see the BQ website.