Production of handbags and luggage helps drive 9.2 billion growth in UK manufacturing

UK production grew 3% to £364 billion as at the end of 2014 – the equivalent of £9.2 billion – according to analysis of the latest official PRODCOM Report from the ONS by Santander Corporate & Commercial1.

The improving economy and confidence in consumer spending led to the manufacture of luggage, handbags and saddlery becoming the fastest-growing manufacturing sector in the UK, with production worth £205 million in 2014 compared to £133 million in 2013 – a year on year increase of 54% and a seven-year high for the sector.

Overall, the manufacture of motor vehicles remains the largest UK manufacturing sector in terms of production, with £36 billion produced in 2014. Other major sectors include the manufacture of air and spacecraft related machinery (£21 billion); the manufacture of pharmaceutical preparations (£10 billion); and the operations of dairies and cheese making (£8 billion).

According to the analysis, the production of food-related products accounted for £21 billion as at the end of 2014. Indeed, the operations of dairies and cheese making, processing and persevering of meat (£7 billion) and manufacture of bread, pastry, goods and cakes (£6 billion) were three of the 10 largest manufacturing sectors in the UK.

Charles Garfit, Head of Manufacturing, Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “We believe that a significant part of the growth in UK production is down to a focus on luxury products, as evidenced by the growth in handbags and luggage as well as the success of a number of upmarket UK car marques.

“Santander is also increasingly working with and supporting manufacturers of high-end food and drink products, usually with a strongly ‘British’ branding as these sorts of products are becoming increasingly well received domestically and also around the world.”

Top ten fastest-growing manufacturing sectors in the UK, 2013-2014

Sector 2013
Value £m
Value £m
Manufacture of luggage, handbags and the like, saddlery and harness 133  205 54%
Manufacture of games and toys 210 316 50%
Manufacture of other taps and valves 1,729 2,435 41%
Manufacture of brooms and brushes 79 100 27% 
Manufacture of leather clothes 4 5 25% 
Manufacture of other products of wood; manufacture of articles of cork, straw and plaiting
337 415 23% 
Manufacture of cordage, rope, twine and netting 50 59 18% 
Manufacture of fibre cement 70 81 16% 
Manufacture of wooden containers 492 568 15% 
Manufacture of other articles of paper and paperboard 999 1,153 15%

Games and toys is another fast-growing sector for the UK economy. While the sector grew 50% in 2014. We continue to significant activity in the market.

Top 10 largest manufacturing sectors in the UK in terms of production

Sector 2013
 y-o-y growth
Manufacture of motor vehicles 34,204 35,926 5%
Manufacture of air and  spacecraft and related machinery 20,316 20,692 2%
Manufacture of pharmaceutical preparations 11,270 10,133 -10%
Manufacture of other parts and accessories for motor vehicles 8,618 9,100 6%
Operation of dairies and cheese making 7,068 7,929 12%
Other printing 7,162 7,468 4% 
Processing and preserving of meat 6,189 6,596 7%
Manufacture of bread; manufacture of fresh pastry goods and cakes 6,023 6,281 4% 
Manufacture of metal structures and parts of structures 5,407 6,015 11% 
Manufacture of instruments and appliances for measuring, testing and navigation 5,668 5,895 4%
UK TOTAL 354,721 363,947 3%


Charles Garfit, Head of Manufacturing, Santander Corporate & Commercial, continued: “Santander is deeply committed to supporting the UK manufacturing sector, helping firms to grow and expand both domestically and overseas. In 2015 we provided financial support to a large number of diverse UK manufacturing businesses, from toys and games makers and clothing businesses to food and drink firms and manufacturers of motorbikes and electronic goods.

“In terms of growth opportunities, we firmly believe that trading internationally remains vital to the success of the UK manufacturing industry. There are significant opportunities for UK manufacturers across a range of international markets and this is a core focus for us and our clients in 2016. ‘Made in Britain’ is increasingly becoming synonymous with high quality products and the world has become very receptive to UK manufactured goods – from cars and pharmaceuticals, to handbags and cheese.”

Santander Corporate & Commercial offers a comprehensive suite of solutions to help UK manufacturers and businesses to both invest for growth as well as export and find international trading partners and suppliers. This includes the award-winning Santander Trade Portal – a unique online tool for businesses that can identify where the best importing and exporting opportunities are for their particular products and services.

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Notes to editors
1 Based on Santander analysis of the 2014 UK Manufacturers' Sales by Product (PRODCOM) (Latest edition, published December 2015)

Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. It has brought real competition to the UK, through its 1|2|3 products for retail customers and relationship banking model for UK SMEs. As at 31 December 2015, Santander UK was one of the most switched to banks. The bank serves more than 14 million active customers with c. 20,000 employees and operates through 857 branches and 70 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

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