UK’s Largest Sectors for Import of Services 2015

Import of Services
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In 2015, Britain’s total imports of services amounted to £137.7 billion, according to the Office of National Statistics. The UK’s largest sectors for import of services were travel, business services and transport; with the UK debited at £41.4 billion, £40 billion and £21.7 billion respectively. 

The UK’s largest sectors for import of services in 2015 were as follows:


In 2015, the largest import sector for services within the UK was travel. Britain was a net importer of travel services having imported £41.4 billion in services in 2015; 30.1 percent of total imported goods for the same year. The UK’s largest source for travel imports was from Spain with the UK’s debit to the country being £7.3 billion. The United States was second largest, with the UK importing £5.2 billion in travel services in 2015.

‘Other’ business services

The ‘other’ business services sector is among the largest for both UK import and export trade in services. Its consistent high performance continues to contribute wealth to the economy, and at 29.3 percent share of total UK imports, ‘other’ business services are the second largest sector for import of services to the UK in 2015, with an expenditure of £40.4 billion. 


The import of transport services into Britain counted for 15.8 percent share of total UK imports in 2015. The world spent £21.7 billion in travel services, with the largest source for such being France, who exported £3.4 billion into the UK in the same year.

Telecommunications, computer and information services

Telecommunications, computer and information services counted for the fourth largest import sector for services in the UK in 2015. The UK’s largest source for telecommunications, computer and information services in 2015 was Switzerland—one of the largest trading partners of the UK—who exported £1.2 billion in services to Britain. This sector was responsible for a 6.7 percent share of total imports. 

Financial services

While the United Kingdom is a net exporter of financial services, the sector remains to be high on the list for imports into the country. Financial services cover banking, investments, tax preparation and accountancy, among others, and made up 6.3 percent of the UK’s total imports in 2015. The United States remains to be the largest trading partner in this sector, with the country being the largest source for financial services imported into the UK at a cost of £2.8 billion.

Intellectual property

Intellectual property is anything from designs to inventions that can be patented, copyrighted or trademarked and the services of such imported into the United Kingdom made it the sixth largest import sector for services in 2015; a 5.9 percent share of total services imported in the same year. The United States was the largest source for intellectual property, with the UK importing £2.9 billion in services. This amounted to more in capital than the entire European Union states combined, of which the United Kingdom imported £2.1 billion in services of the same, collectively.

Personal, cultural and recreational services

The seventh largest import sector for services in the United Kingdom is the personal, cultural and recreational services sector. The sector ranges from the educational sector, to arts, heritage and health services. The sector is responsible for 2.3 percent of all UK import of services, with an expenditure of £3.2 billion in 2015, the largest single source of such services being the United States.


The United states was the largest source of import of government services in 2015 at £772 million, contributing to the £2.6 billion the UK spent on services in this sector. The import of government services into Britain accounted for a 1.9 percent share of all imported goods in the same year. Interestingly, the UK’s import and export of government services is balanced; with the same amount in GDP being exported globally in the same year.   


While the construction industry counts for only a 0.8 percent share of the UK’s total imports in 2015, it is the ninth largest import sector for services, having imported £1.1 billion in construction services. Construction services include actual labour forces, mainly coming from European countries. The largest trading partner with the UK for import of construction services in 2015 was France; with the UK spending £177 million in services from the neighbouring country. 

Manufacturing services

In 2015, manufacturing services was the UK’s 10th largest import sector for services with a share of 0.4 percent of the total services imported. The UK only spent £536 million on these services, however, highlighting the decline in functional need for the service in current day Britain.


The UK’s largest single import trading partner for goods, as of 2015, was the United States. Britain imported a total of £26.2 billion in services from the economic giant, second only to the EU28 collective, of which the United Kingdom imported £67.9 billion in services.