Top 5 exporters of creative goods in the world

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) ranked the five largest exporters of creative goods in the world.

Since 2011, developing economies have exported more of these types of products than developed economies.

Moreover, a small group of economies account for more than two-thirds of global exports of creative goods.

In 2020, China was by far the largest exporter of creative goods ($169 billion), followed by the United States ($32 billion), Italy ($27 billion), Germany ($26 billion) and Hong Kong ($24 billion).

The creative industries contribute significantly to international trade in goods.

According to UNCTAD data, world exports of these goods increased from $208 billion in 2002 to $524 billion in 2020.

Since 2007, Asia has been the largest exporter of creative goods (creative goods exports will reach $308 billion in 2020), followed by Europe ($169 billion) and North America ($37 billion).

Asia’s dominant role in creative goods exports is driven by China, which alone accounted for 32% of global creative goods exports.

Creative goods

South-South trade in creative goods has almost doubled in the last two decades.

On the other hand, developed economies mainly tend to trade cultural goods with each other.

In 2020, South-South trade in creative goods accounted for 40.5% of developing economies’ creative exports.

This mainly involved exports of jewelry, interior design products, print media, fashion and toys.

South-South trade can be important for developing economies to create new trade opportunities and diversify their exports.

Globally, the share of all creative goods in total exports declined slightly between 2002 and 2020, from 3.2% in 2002 to 3% in 2020.


Due to technological development, the composition of creative goods exports changed significantly over the last two decades.

Exports of CDs, DVDs, tapes, newspapers and other printed materials decreased, while exports of recorded media and video games increased.

Likewise, design products dominate trade in creative goods.

In 2020, design products accounted for 62.9% of total creative goods exports, followed by new media products (13.4%), artistic crafts (8%), visual arts (6.2%), publishing (5.4%), audiovisual products (3.1%) and performing arts (1 percent).

Among design goods, the main products exported are interior design (20.1 percent of total creative exports), fashion (15.9 percent), jewelry (15.3 percent) and toys (11.4 percent).


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