Digital transformation could grow the UK economy by over £413 billion by 2030

New research shows the impact digital technology can have in driving economic growth and higher living standards in the UK

New study helps to understand the role that cloud computing can play in reaching the UK’s digital ambitions to enable the UK to compete on the global stage.

Commissioned by Amazon Web Services (AWS), the Public First report shows that digital technology could grow the economy by over £413 billion by 2030. That is the equivalent of around 19% of the entire UK economy – or bigger than the entire regional economy of the south-east of England, and more than twice the annual output of the UK’s manufacturing sector (£183 billion).

‘… citizens and businesses see digital technology as one of the biggest areas of growth for the country after health …’

The research also revealed that both citizens and businesses see digital technology as one of the biggest areas of growth for the country after health, with cloud computing playing an integral role.

Yet, the research also shows many organisations are still not equipped with the right tools, skills, and digital infrastructure to take full advantage of the digital opportunity.

The UK will need to focus on increasing digital adoption, strengthening digital skills, and continuing to invest in digital infrastructure to unlock its full digital potential.

Growing adoption of digital technology

 The UK is already making progress when it comes to digital technology. According to the government’s UK Digital Strategy, the country has more unicorns, and more start-up and scale-up investment, than France and Germany combined, and it is recognised as a world leader in emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), advanced semiconductor design, and quantum computing. In recent years, the tech sector, has grown by around 7% a year – faster than the UK economy as a whole – and it is now estimated to support around three million jobs.

‘… the tech sector, has grown by around 7% a year – faster than the UK economy as a whole …’

This progress is reflected in Public First’s report, which showed that over half of UK organisations (53%) agree that digital technology has become increasingly important over the last five years. This increases when talking to large companies with over 250 employees – of which 89% believe that technology is more important now than it was five years ago. However, Public First’s report showed many UK businesses that are yet to capitalise on digital technologies.

Polling conducted by Public First found that:

  • 42% of businesses don’t use digital tools to track orders or inventory, 31% don’t yet advertise online, and 38% are not using social media.
  • Over a third (40%) of the least digitally intensive businesses (businesses using a high level of digital technology, such as employees’ business internet use, number of ICT specialists, or online customer interactions) said that they did not know what difference greater use of digital technology would make to their operations.
  • Almost half (48%) of business leaders had not heard of cloud computing or did not know what the term “cloud computing” meant.


With business costs rising, it is vital that financial support is complemented with the right guidance and advice. Growth hubs and peer networks should continue to be a key component of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

Strengthening digital skills

 UK Government estimates indicate that there were 31.5% more individuals working in the digital sector in 2020 compared with 2011. Turnover and employment growth in the digital sector is currently growing at more than double the rate of the economy as a whole, requiring a significant expansion of the UK’s current digital workforce.

With 80% of the 2030 workforce already in work today, reskilling the existing workforce is likely to be important for the UK to realise its digital ambitions. Increasing the availability of advanced digital skills in the UK will allow businesses to take greater advantage of digital technologies and the benefits of cloud computing. This can be achieved by boosting the number of specialists, as well as improving the digital skills of the average worker.

‘… reskilling the existing workforce is likely to be important for the UK to realise its digital ambitions… ‘

Digital and cloud skills will be key to ensuring the UK can continue to compete on a global stage.  AWS has committed to an investment to provide free cloud computing skills training for 29 million people by 2025 – reaching people from all walks of life and all levels of technical knowledge, in more than 200 countries including the UK. It has launched a number of learning and skills programmes in the UK including preparing learners from unemployed and underemployed populations who have little technology experience, for careers in the cloud, at no cost  and an education programme designed to inspire 12-14 year old students, especially girls, to consider a future career in STEM.

Continuing to invest in digital infrastructure

Digital infrastructure, such as high-speed connectivity and cloud computing, continue to be fundamental to supporting wider digital transformation in the UK.

Public First polling revealed:

  • 80% of businesses using cloud agreed that cloud computing has made it easier for their business to compete with bigger enterprises, and 67% agreed that the costs of starting a business had reduced substantially because of cloud computing.
  • Cloud computing also offers secure and reliable digital infrastructure. 92% of cloud users feel confident that their data is secure in the cloud. A further 45% of respondents said they would find it difficult to store data securely without cloud services.
  • UK businesses and consumers prioritise faster or more reliable internet over building new roads and adding extra bus and rail routes.


For the UK to benefit from increased growth and productivity, there should be a greater focus on growing awareness and support available to businesses to adopt digital tools; the creation of a more diverse talent pool to address the digital skills shortage; and continuing investment in the infrastructure that will underpin innovation and the next generation of digital technologies. Collectively, this will unlock the many opportunities afforded by this digital decade.

Read the full report and learn more about how cloud computing can support the UK’s digital ambitions.

Read more about AWS programmes

You might also be interested in: UK Digital Strategy 2022

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