Manufacturing stats, and trends for 2022

22nd February 2022

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The global pandemic has affected all our lives in an unprecedented way, and for many businesses, they have also had to contend with changes brought about by the UK leaving the European Union. It was worried that British manufacturing would be negatively affected by this disruption but according to Make UK who have published their annual analysis of the UK manufacturing sector, businesses have bounced back and adapted to these changes quickly and effectively.

We look at some of the biggest takeaways from the report and our top trends for manufacturing in 2022.

Manufacturing facts

Output – Not surprisingly, the impact of the pandemic resulted in a reduction in the sector’s output in 2020, however, figures indicate the sector’s output is on track to return to its pre-pandemic level by the end of 2022.

  • Annual output £183 billion
  • Ninth largest manufacturing nation in the world
  • £2.5m jobs supported

Growth in terms of export (Export value average annual growth 2010-2020)

  • Aerospace & other transport – 4.1%
  • Metals – 5.2%
  • Food and drink – 3%
  • Automotive – 2.6%
  • Machinery – 1.6%
  • Rubber, Plastics, and non-metallic Minerals – 1.3%
  • Electronics & electrical equipment – 1.2%
  • Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals – 0.3%

Where exports go

British-made products have always been in demand abroad, with many countries perceiving our exports as luxury or high-end.

  • £43.2 billion to the USA
  • £32.4 billion Germany
  • £21.6 billion Republic of Ireland
  • £19.7 billion Netherlands
  • £18.6 billion France
  • £14.4 billion China

Regional breakdown – UK Manufacturing


Region Manufacturing Output (2020) People employed in manufacturing (2020)
Scotland £15.5bn 177,000
Northern Ireland £5.3bn 94,000
Northeast £7.9bn 105,000
Northwest £27.4bn 319,000
Yorkshire £18.2bn 293,000
East Midlands £18.1bn 264,000
West Midlands £22.3bn 292,000
Wales £11.3bn 147,000
East £18.3bn 209,000
Southwest £15.6bn 227,000
Southeast £23.4bn 284,000
London £8.9bn 144,000


While these figures do not include 2021, it is still heartening to see the manufacturing industry continue to prosper, despite the challenges that have been thrown at it.

View the full report

Manufacturing trends for 2022

We look at the trends that we think will shape the sector in the coming months.

Health and Safety

Always a priority for manufacturing businesses, health and safety will become even more vital as the country emerges from the global pandemic. In addition to standard practices, we believe many manufacturing businesses will continue to prioritise staff safety by encompassing robust practices and advanced technology that will speed up manufacturing and reduce downtime.

Sustainability and Energy Efficiency

UK businesses owners are facing a triple threat of “potentially damaging” events that could affect the finances and profitability of their business. The recent pandemic combined with increased legislation on environmental standards means many businesses could experience increased costs over the coming years. These include increased energy costs and the ban on petrol and diesel vehicles.

To mitigate these risks, manufacturers will develop new roadmaps to sustainability that will enable them to meet their sustainable energy targets, become more energy-efficient and save money. This can include switching fleets to electric vehicles, incorporating energy-efficient lighting and heat pumps, or insulating their premises.

Artificial intelligence and IIoT connectivity

Adopting IIoT (The industrial internet of things) will allow businesses to work smarter. By implementing advanced technologies like warehouse management & logistics, condition monitoring, and predictive maintenance software, business owners can keep a closer watch on output, material usage, shipping costs, and downtime.

Homegrown supply-chains and purchasing

The recent supply-chain issues have thrown into question the UK’s reliance on imports, because of this, we believe the manufacturing sector will look to secure materials from inside the UK. By switching to homegrown materials and goods, UK manufacturers can avoid the delayed deliveries, higher prices, gaps in supply that occurred in the last few months.

In summary, the impact of COVID-19 and Brexit continue, but 2022 is looking bright for the sector, with improvements and advancement firmly on businesses owners’ minds.

If your business lies in the manufacturing sector and you want to accelerate your growth with tailored asset, or commercial finance, get in touch with our experts who will be only too happy to help.

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