Greater Manchester revealed to be the top city in the UK outside London for digital technology

Date published: 26 June 2019


A new census, published today by The Data City, reveals that Greater Manchester is the top city in the UK outside the capital for digital technology.

The UK Digital Technology Census 2019 builds on the work that The Data City completed on behalf of Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and MIDAS to discover Greater Manchester’s strengths.

To uncover these findings, The Data City created RTIC (Real-Time Industrial Classification) codes - which provide insight on new and emerging sectors of the industry not represented in the Standard Industry Classification (SIC codes) used by Companies House.

It analysed the 4.06 million active companies in the UK, using artificial intelligence to monitor their websites and digital footprint to correctly identify areas of activity, and the resulting report, the 2019 Digital Technology Census, shows that the number of digital technology companies active in the UK is over 25% larger than currently believed.

This is because companies previously classified as, for example, manufacturing, are now also embracing new technologies such as IoT, Digital and Fintech.  In fact, when investigating these new and emerging sectors in isolation, and removing ‘traditional’ digital and IT businesses, The Data City found that as much as 58% of the sector was missing from previous analyses.

Greater Manchester was the first region in the UK to use this new data science to comprehensively map its technology sector.

The full report, published this week, shows clearly shows that Manchester leads the country outside of the capital in activity in the sector, ranking second overall, and breaking away from its nearest rivals by some margin. 

Greater Manchester also has particular strengths in: AI and Data, E-commerce, FinTech, Gaming and MedTech, ranking second for each of these categories, and came third in the categories of Cyber and IoT and 5th for Digital as a category in its own right.

The Data City classified the data geographically to reveal the top 25 cities in the UK, looking at active businesses combined with the number of events and meetups held, to find the most thriving innovation communities by industry sector, captured in an online interactive map. 

The census provides a clearer than ever before picture of the UK innovation landscape, to help inform business and public sector decision-making around investment and growth. 

The top ten cities overall are:

  1. London
  2. Manchester
  3. Reading
  4. Brighton
  5. Milton Keynes
  6. Birmingham
  7. Leeds
  8. Bristol
  9. Edinburgh
  10. Glasgow

Alex Craven, Co-founder of The Data City says: “The 2019 Digital Technologies Census provides the clearest picture yet of the digital technology landscape in the UK.  Using data from Companies House and individual businesses’ own websites it shows how active the community is across eight main sectors, and allows comparison between cities and regions. 

“Our new classifications allow us to ascertain levels of activity in emerging sectors that have never previously been fully evaluated, making this a methodology for the 21st century. 

“The Data City has created a useful tool for businesses, investors and public sector policymakers. Using real-time data such as ours to identify areas of strength can help inform innovation policy, provide an objective basis for investment and inform individual business decisions such as where to locate.”

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