Designing Success: The Untapped Potential of Hungary's Creative Exports

The creative industry is touted as a pivotal growth sector for advanced economies, and according to a comprehensive analysis by Századvég Economic Research Inc.

In the EU, the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCI) is a major economic driver, generating 643 billion euros in total turnover and 253 billion euros in added value in 2019, surpassing sectors like telecommunications and automotive. Employment in the CCI sector has surged, adding approximately 700,000 jobs since 2013.

However, Hungary lags in creative economic performance. The added value of creative products and services is significantly below the EU average, and the country shows a considerable trade deficit in creative goods. The lack of SMEs in the creative sector, absence of publicly traded creative companies, extremely low trademark numbers, and negligible design registrations suggest a lost growth potential.

In Hungary, the design industry accounts for 1.1% of total output and 2.1% of all exports, indicating a higher export intensity than the national average. Yet, the added value from the design industry is just 0.9%. The sector's productivity lags nearly 30% behind the national average.

Despite representing a small fraction of the national economy, three-quarters of the Hungarian design industry's output is from exports, indicating positive contributions to foreign revenues and international competitiveness. From 2005 to 2015, the export of Hungarian creative goods more than doubled from $651.5 million to $1.3 billion, with design products leading and publishing activities following. However, the proportion of final consumption and gross accumulation is relatively low, suggesting the Hungarian design industry primarily serves other sectors and is not directly integrated into domestic consumption.

Therefore, the study suggests that it would be beneficial for Hungary to bolster its creative industry through higher-level innovation and technology to enhance its competitive edge and integrate more deeply into the global creative economy.