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How will the UK’s digital sector grow post-brexit?

Written by Mark Price on Wednesday, 06 February 2019. Posted in Global

While platforms like Facebook and Instagram created the ever-increasing demand for digital in businesses in the past, Mark Price thinks the time is ripe for the sector to evolve further

How will the UK’s digital sector grow post-brexit?

It’s tempting to think the online world is mature but it’s very young. Facebook is merely 14 years old, WhatsApp came in 2009 and Instagram followed a year later. They all now have billions of users but that doesn’t mean there can’t be new entrants. 

Incumbents either slip up, miss the new trends or become too big to adapt. Jeff Bezos recently announced even Amazon is not too big to fail – he’s right. Think David and Goliath. Who would’ve thought the first trains or factories at the start of the industrial revolution wouldn’t be around today or that only a third of the companies named in the first FTSE 100 list in 1984 would survive?

As Brexit nears, growth of the digital sector should be a priority – it could even provide an opportunity for the UK to lead the way and reimagine the sector. This year we saw the Department for International Trade cite digital design, services and data as essential to the UK’s exporting success. As we move into a post-Brexit era, it’s important to protect and nurture British digital platforms and ensure they stay competitive.

It’s well known Generation Z are taking a stand for privacy on social media. 2018 has been a landmark for advancements in online privacy. The GDPR regulations aim to give higher levels of data privacy coveted by the new generation and digital platforms must wake up to this.

Similarly, as new companies enter the market each year, we’re seeing a change in digital trends. Does Facebook appeal to 21-year-olds as it did a few years ago? Looking at its scandals, you can make a good guess. This brings opportunity as it proves there is appetite for new platforms to fit the needs of millennial users. 

How can we see change in the economic model of digital platforms? In the past, social media platforms developed as a series of targeted offerings – a marketeer’s dream. For instance, remember the early days of food shops where you’d walk along a high street and stop at the butcher, baker, grocer and fishmonger? And then someone had the idea to build a supermarket where everything was synced under one roof. Could this be the future for digital platforms? My vision for the is a one-stop shop for all digital needs. A platform where you can log in to manage your messaging, emails, conference calling, articles and much more.

Reimagining digital platforms will definitely grow the sector. With Brexit approaching and the government’s support there’ll be loads of opportunities for tech entrepreneurs to transform the way digital platforms are used.

About the Author

Mark Price

Mark Price

Lord Mark Price is the former managing director of Waitrose and formerly minister for trade and investment.

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