United Kingdom’s Top 10 Imports: All You Need to Know

2016 saw UK imports rise by more than 15.2% compared with since 2009. With £514.81 billion worth of goods brought in from all four corners of the globe, here’s the breakdown of last year’s top 10 import categories:

  1. Machinery including computers: £65.32 billion (12.7% of total imports)
  2. Vehicles: £60.2 billion (11.7%)
  3. Gems, precious metals: £57.07 billion (11.1%)
  4. Electrical machinery, equipment: £47.25 billion (9.2%)
  5. Mineral fuels including oil: £31.74 billion (6.2%)
  6. Pharmaceuticals: £26.56 billion (5.2%)
  7. Aircraft, spacecraft: £15.31 billion (3%)
  8. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: £14.17 billion (2.8%)
  9. Plastics, plastic articles: £13.85 billion (2.7%)
  10. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: £8.91 billion (1.7%)

(Stats from www.worldstopexports.com)


import export shipping containers


Britain’s purchasing power has been steadily increasing over the past eight years, with more overseas money transfers being made than ever before. Half of last year’s total imports were purchased from mainland Europe, while Asia, in second place, supplied 22.8% of all imported goods. Regardless of where Britons are buying from, high bank transfer fees remain one of the greatest obstacles when it comes to transferring money abroad. And that’s why cross-currency services such as Covercy are making a real difference, helping customers to make international payments cheap, safe and quick in comparison with banks, no matter which import category the transfer relates to. We’ve reworked the list above to show five of the biggest import categories of relevance to small-to-medium sized importers…

Aerospace & Industrial Machinery – £62.56 billion

With total investment of £16.02 billion, turbojet aircraft are comfortably leading the line in this category, although printing machinery, in fifth place at £2.79 billion, is also making massive waves in terms of growth rate. Between 2009 and 2016 this sector experienced an astonishing boost of 1,218%, easily outstripping diesel engines (up 57.9%).

Road Vehicles – £60.2 billion
Over the same 7-year period, imported vehicles showed the fastest increase in value among the top 10 import categories, up 61%. It comes as no surprise that with £36.83 billion in total purchases, private car purchases accounted for almost two thirds of all vehicle deals in 2016. And it’s a trend that seems likely to continue, with new car registrations at the start of this year increasing by 2.3% compared with January of 2016.

It’s an amazing stat, given the fact that more new cars were registered in the UK in 2016 – 2.69m in total – than in any other year, marking a five-year run of constant growth. With British car buyers able to choose from almost 400 different model types produced by 44 manufacturers, if you fancy purchasing a car directly from a foreign supplier, make sure you save on fees by taking full advantage of Covercy’s highly favourable currency transfer rates.

Non-electronic Consumer Items – £58.23 billion

Up 59.6%, in 2016 pharmaceuticals were second only to vehicles in terms of import growth. Another highly important sector is the construction industry, with the number of new-build homes in 2015 hitting its highest level since 2008, according to government figures. Despite the building boom, experts claim that more than 250,000 new homes are still needed annually to tackle England’s chronic housing shortage. It’s no surprise, therefore, that last year marked an increase in imports of both plastics and furniture.

Precious Metals & Gems – £57.07 billion

With Brexit and its long-term impact on Sterling yet to be fully understood, precious metals like Gold and Platinum, as well as gemstones like Diamonds, remain highly sought-after safe-haven assets. Last year, purchases of unwrought Gold skyrocketed, rising 5,704% in comparison with 2009! Demand for silver, on the other hand, fell by 43%…

Electronics & Technical Apparatus – £27.67 billion

After generating £13.50 billion worth of purchases, phone system devices, including smartphones, remain the name of the game in this category, followed by TV sets, computer monitors and projectors (£3.40 billion). And with electronics playing an ever-greater role in our day-to-day lives, expect this sector’s rise to power to continue.