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What Does the UK Actually Manufacture?

What Does the UK Actually Manufacture?

Too Long, Didn't Read?

Manufacturing is actually growing in the UK with 2017, with manufacturers’ sales increasing by 5.4%. This means that the total value of manufacturers sales in 2017 was £384.5 billion. 

Almost all manufacturing industries have seen an increase in sales, in fact, the only major industry to see a decline in sales was basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations. The biggest manufacturing industry in the UK is food production which accounts for sales worth £70.3 billions.

The UK also manufactures a lot of vehicles and mechanical products. The top four products are; petrol motor vehicles, aircraft parts, diesel vehicles and military aircraft.

It’s common to think that the UK doesn’t actually manufacture anything these days, and assume that the UK has left manufacturing in the past. However, the stats show that’s not true. Manufacturing is growing in the UK and there are some areas where the UK is a global leader in manufacturing. So what does the UK actually manufacture?


Diving Deeper:

In the video, we discuss how a number of manufacturers have been performing recently. In this deeper dive,  we want to take a look at a few more successes and one more failure.

The UK’s distilleries did very well in 2017. This is partly due to the sales of both whisky and gin rising during the year. Whisky production is worth a serious amount of money to the UK, with total sales reaching £3.4 billion in 2017. This total is up by £305 million compared to the 2016 figures.

Gin manufacturing increased by £113 million in 2017, to £461 million. This represents a huge jump of 32.5% when compared to 2016 production levels. While the total value of gin production is significantly lower than whisky, the growth in the gin market far outstrips whisky growth. Whether this is will continue long-term, or if it’s just a current trend is still yet to be seen.

Chocolate hasn’t been faring quite so well. Filled chocolate bars & blocks, and chocolate confectionery both experienced falling sales in 2017, with the sales dropping by 29% and 13% respectively. This could be as a result of increased consumer interest in healthy choices, but that doesn’t quite add up when you look at the data for sweet biscuits. Sales of sweet biscuits bucked the trend by actually increasing by 22% in 2017, an increase worth £277 million.



ONS Data (July 2018) –

ONS Data (November 2018) –

BDO Regional Manufacturing Data –