Creative Supply Chains Study

Quantifying the wider impacts of the creative and cultural sectors

Through investigating creative supply chains, this study provides evidence of the wide-ranging impact of the creative industries, particularly London-based cultural infrastructure. The findings demonstrate how economic value generated in London’s creative industries is linked to further activity in other parts of the economy, both within London and at a UK level. The study also looks beyond just the economic impact, and includes the skills, geographic and premises conditions that make supply chains successful.

We Made That completed this study that reveals that the success of London’s creative industries is helping to further boost the economy by spending £40bn per year within their supply chain. This research has been carried out as part of the Mayor’s Cultural Infrastructure Plan in collaboration with Hatch Regeneris. It provides supportive evidence about the important role that creative production businesses play through their wider supply chain, both within London and across the UK.

The study includes a number of case studies of places of consumption: National Theatre, Omeara, Sadler’s Wells, and production: Factory Settings, Souvenir Scenic Studios, Mesmer, Martino Gamper Studio and Studio ZNA.

Economic impact and geography

“We know that the creative industries generate billions for London in their own right, but what this report shows today is the significant impact they are having across other parts of the economy.”
Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries

What is a supply chain?

Souvenir Scenic Studios - workspace for fabrication, manufacturing, printing and administrative activities across four industrial units in South Bermondsey

Key findings include:

Economic impact: In 2017, the creative industries contributed £101.5bn GVA to the UK economy, of which £52.2bn of economic output was generated in London. This study finds that creative industries in London spend an estimated £40bn within the supply chain. About 50 per cent of this expenditure falls outside the creative sectors.

Jobs and skills: For every job within the creative industries in London, there is an additional 0.75 jobs supported within the creative supply chain.

Value beyond the creative sector: The contribution of non-creative sectors is key to creative production. For example, 92 per cent of supply chain spending to produce a single catwalk fashion show set falls outside the creative sector.

Geography: Through their supply chains, London-based creative businesses benefit other businesses, both within and outside London.

Employment space: Creative supply chain activity happens in a range of workspaces across both central and outer London, including studio spaces and industrial units.

For example, the National Theatre is both a producer and consumer – it houses a substantial fabrication and manufacturing wing, as well as being supported by a network of over 200 businesses over the course of a year. These include security services providers, drinks wholesalers, timber merchants, and specialised chandlers. All these businesses also have their own set of suppliers. For instance, when needed the National Theatre has contracted Souvenir Scenic Studios, a set manufacturing company, which itself uses materials, equipment and specialised services from over 30 businesses across the UK.

Case study: National Theatre

Sadler's Wells, Credit: Philip Vile

“This report highlights the creative industries’ significant role as a driver of business for other sectors in London, across the country and beyond. Supporting publicly-funded organisations, creative businesses and freelancers working closely across supply chains, as we inherently do, is crucial not only to ensure the social and economic success of the creative sector, but also to stimulate and support the growth of the UK’s wider economy.”
Alistair Spalding, Artistic Director and Chief Executive at Sadler’s Wells

Project Details

Greater London Authority

Completed 2018


We Made That, Hatch Regeneris, Maddison Graphic


Creative Supply Chains Study