UNCTAD launches UNCTADstat, a Global Databank on World Trade in Creative Products

Geneva, 15 August 2008 – An UNCTAD database providing trade statistics on creative goods and services is available to the public as of today at the Internet site unctadstat.unctad.org. The statistics cover about 235 products related to heritage, arts, media and functional creations.

The database´s statistics are based on information reported by national sources to the United Nations. Currently the site shows global trade flows for 1996-2006. The statistics are available as tabular reports, country profiles, tables, and charts. Selected products are listed along with the major exporters/importers in major markets for such creative products as art and crafts, music CDs and video/films.

The site is a “work in progress” that aims at improving market transparency and supporting governments in policy making. There are gaps in data, as traditional statistical methods are being updated to reflect accurately the rapidly growing international exchange of digitalized products such as music, films, videos, advertising, news, and all creative content that travel via the Internet and mobile phones.

The charts below are an illustration of what users can obtain from the database.

Chart 1: Creative industries: Exports of creative services, by economic group, 2005

UNCTAD creative industries 2005

Chart 2: Publishing and printed media: Exports by economic group

UNCTAD publishing 2005

The Creative Economy Report 2008, released by UNCTAD/UNDP in April, showed that global trade in creative goods and services grew by 8.7% annually from 2000-2005, making it one of the most vibrant sectors in world commerce. The value of exports of creative goods reached US$ 335.5 billion in 2005, according to figures reported by over 130 countries, while exports of creative services totaled $89 billion.

Trade in creative products is dominated by developed countries — they account for about 90% of exports of music and audiovisuals, for example — although the world´s poorer nations have achieved rapid growth in the creative sector recently. One noteworthy trend is that printed media are facing challenges due to the growing influence of electronic publishing. In Europe, which has the world´s highest rate of broadband Internet penetration, circulation of printed newspapers is declining. By contrast, in developing countries where competition from electronic publishing is less of a factor because of expensive and limited Internet access, the circulation of printed newspapers seems less affected. Worldwide, the database shows, global sales of published material and printed media (all kinds of news circulated as newspapers, magazines, books etc) had a growth rate of 3% for 2000-2005, with exports amounting to US$ 15.3 billion in 2005.

Governments, enterprises, the creative community — including independent artists/creators, academia, the media and international institutions — are all potential end-users of this global database, which provides factual trade data by products, countries and regions.