Time For Brexit Confidence: UK Named Third Largest Digital Market, Again

It's time for a reality check. The past couple of weeks have been filled with doom and gloom as the political and economic landscape in Europe is turned upside down. Just think, though, what odds would you have got at the start of the year that before Christmas a British PM would be negotiating a new EU trade deal with the German Chancellor and the US President and all three would be female? Ok, right now, that's two out of three, but here's hoping.

If anyone needs a very simple jolt of reality, it comes today with Strategy Analytics' figures for 2016 digital ad spend. The headline is that Asia Pac will overtake the US this year but the more interesting detail in Europe is that once again the third largest digital marketing market is the UK. Ok, the Asia Pac angle is interesting but it's just sheer weight of numbers driven by China, on a per capita level, the region is still way below the US. Anyway, back to the point, the UK is the third largest digital advertising market in the world and in case you need to put that into perspective, it is twice the size of Germany.

MAD London readers will know that like the majority of people who live in the capital and surrounding "shires," I was firmly in the Remain camp. However, now the vote has been cast it's time to rail against some of the more ridiculous overreactions we are currently seeing. Every piece of research says people are gloomy and predict nothing other than economic demise. Tech City's figures say three in four think the economy will suffer and it will be difficult to recruit people. I still fear there is a risk that some major pan-EU or global accounts will go to Amsterdam, Berlin and Paris because it makes things more streamlined and the holding companies already have offices there.

However, let us not forget, that twice as much will be spent on digital marketing through London and the UK than Germany and Berlin. The UK doesn't suddenly turn from a beautiful carriage fit for a Princess to a rotten old pumpkin at the stroke of midnight because of a Brexit vote. It's worth remembering, of course, physical Brexit is a good two years off, at the earliest and it is very hard to imagine Britain will not be entered into a free trade agreement with the EU. The stupid thing is it will cost us more than we are currently paying and to be competitive in the EU we will have to adopt its trade laws and standards which ill-informed activists have rallied against. So, nothing much will change, other than the membership price -- so much for an imaginary pledge of an extra GBP350m per week going to the National Health Service (NHS).

If you really think the EU would let the UK and its massive good deficit be completely severed, you're raving mad. If you really think London, the capital of the country with the world's third largest digital ad spend, will fall from grace over night, then you're certifiable. If you really think that people who've learned to speak English as a second language will no longer want to work here, even if it does require the formality of a work visa, then you clearly think the rest of Europe's talent doesn't want to develop in the most advanced digital economy in (geographic) Europe. None of the worsts gloom-mongering actually stacks up, does it?

In the uncertainly that will ensue over the next couple of years, i have no doubt London's EU rivals will pick up some extra work. The big picture, though, is London is the hub of the world's third biggest digital marketing economy. If that doesn't fill you with confidence for the future, just carry on ignoring the data and keep looking for that four-leaf clover instead.

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