Security market analysis: Looking to the UK

Security market

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Ahead of International Security Expo and International Cyber Expo, Philip Ingram MBE assesses the importance of the UK’s security market.

In the ever-evolving landscape of global trade, the United Kingdom has emerged as a significant player in the defence and security sectors.  

The Department for International Trade’s UK Defence and Security Exports (DIT UKDSE) has recently released its annual figures, providing valuable insights into the health and growth of these industries.

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK has demonstrated resilience and maintained its position as a major global defence exporter. 

On a rolling ten year basis, the UK continues to hold the title of the world’s second-largest defence exporter, trailing only behind the US.

This impressive feat underscores the UK’s expertise and competitiveness in the global market.

In 2021, the UK secured defence orders worth £5.5b, showcasing its continued success in attracting international buyers.  

However, defence isn’t the only successful element; the UK has also made significant strides in the security sector.

With security export sales reaching £8.22b in 2021, the UK secures its position as a leading player in the global security market.  

Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region emerge as the key markets for UK security exports, reflecting the widespread demand for British security solutions.

What is also significant is that it is not just products and services that the UK exports – but many countries look to the UK for their policies and procedures, underpinning national approaches to delivering security.  

Cybersecurity takes centre stage 

Within the security sector, cyber-exports have taken centre stage, accounting for most sales.

With cyber-threats becoming increasingly prevalent in the digital age, the UK’s expertise in cybersecurity positions it as a trusted provider of cutting-edge solutions.

The ongoing growth in demand for cybersecurity is expected to drive further expansion in the UK’s security export market.

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is the envy of many countries and the way it helps businesses is a key element of that envy. 

With cyber threats becoming increasingly sophisticated, businesses and governments worldwide are investing heavily in cybersecurity solutions.

The UK’s expertise in this field, evident in its £5b worth of cyber exports in 2021, positions it as a reliable partner in safeguarding digital infrastructure. 

Leading security events 

The UK’s position on the global security stage is again proven by the popularity of trade events.

The Home Office’s closed Security and Policing event in Farnborough each year is one of the leading events; as highlighted by a visitor’s testimonial: “Security and Policing is the ideal combination of collaboration with and accessibility to first responders, government, industry and academia on an international level.

“It also provides a great opportunity to view next generation innovative technology.”  

Another example is the leading shows International Security Expo and International Cyber Expo, which are co-located at Olympia London. Over the same two days, take place at the end of September each year. 

Its position in the market is exemplified by the same level of UK cross government support as is seen at the Farnborough event, but being run as open events with far fewer restrictions for visitors.

Easily accessible in London, International Security Expo consistently delivers a high quality vetted audience of over 10,000 people associated with all aspects of the security industry – from the highest government levels to consultants and everyone in between.

International Cyber Expo, in its first year, brought in an additional 5,000 visitors as well. 

The events attract large numbers from different police, law enforcement and government organisations charged with keeping the country safe from terror, organised crime and other security issues, including hostile nation states and of course developments in legislation and policy. 

A clear example of this is at International Security Expo 2023, where Martyn’s Law will be one of the conference features; the event will provide a unique opportunity to influence draft legislation.

Speakers include representatives from the Office for Homeland Security, which drafted the legislation, as well as Figen Murray OBE and Nick Aldworth who lobbied for the legislation in the first place.  

In addition, there will be representatives from most of the security associations and member organisations who have already commented to the Parliamentary Home Affairs Select Committee, the National Counter Terror Security Office (NaCTSO), who will be charged with implementing it.   

It is the heads or senior directors from these elements who are also speaking and this will be the first public event for the new head of NaCTSO in her first month in the role.

No other event has every element influencing such an important piece of legislation in one place, at one time.  

Speakers discuss security market trends 

As we continue through 2023 and get ready for 2024 there are several factors poised to shape the future of both the UK and global security market.

These range from the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the increased threat from hostile nation states to global critical national infrastructure.

These will be well covered by individuals with direct responsibility working into each area nationally and internationally, as will the topic of resilience, brought to the fore by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The growing demand for cybersecurity solutions is likely to continue.

The resurgence of the aviation security market, as travel restrictions ease, presents new opportunities for UK exporters.

And, as the world becomes more interconnected and digital, the UK’s expertise in cybersecurity will remain in high demand. 

The international importance of the UK’s security markets, both internal and export, is highlighted by so many countries and summed up by one visitor, Mary Zayek, Director of Global Marketing at Astrophysics, who said: “The trip over from California specially for this event is worth it! With both UK and international attendees, the event hosts a great mix of exhibitors and customers, which is great for generating brand awareness.”  

Speakers from the UAE, Australia, the US, across Europe and Ukraine have all asked to come and will be delivering their views on a variety of subjects.

Their insistence to participate is a clear indicator of how important International Security Expo and International Cyber Expo are on the global stage, making it easy to confirm these as leading global security events. 

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