Chris Evans

14th December 2023

Business News

The industries set to shape the UK’s economic prospects in 2024

As the United Kingdom stands at a pivotal juncture, it faces a complex tapestry of challenges and opportunities in 2024. Emerging from an unparalleled period in history, marked by a human resource crisis, supply chain disruptions, soaring energy costs, and political and economic upheavals post-Brexit, the nation contemplates its future trajectory. Is the UK on the brink of decline, or is there a path to a brighter, more prosperous future?

The answer may lie in the UK's ability to maintain its leadership in innovation and technology. Across the nation, new industries are burgeoning, poised to transcend the macro-economic challenges that loom over established markets. These industries, anchored in world-class engineering and innovation, are key to fuelling the embattled government's vision of a "Global Britain."

The Final Frontier: UK's Space Industry

Space exploration, once the realm of science fiction, is rapidly evolving into a lucrative global industry. While the exploits of tech billionaires in space have drawn skepticism, these ventures are pioneering pathways to immense opportunities. The UK's space industry, employing over 45,000 people and expected to double in the coming decade, stands as a strategic asset. However, Plimsoll's analysis reveals a dip in the UK's market share for space technology from 6% pre-pandemic to 2% last year. Yet, average margins have consistently stayed above 4%, and company values have seen a nearly 6% rise recently. With 43 of the top 200 space companies in the UK ripe for acquisition, the industry is on the cusp of significant consolidation.

Cyber Security: Safeguarding the Digital Age

In the era of Industry 4.0, the confluence of robotics, AI, quantum computing, and interconnectivity is revolutionizing manufacturing. The advent of 5G technology is set to amplify this transformation. However, this progress brings with it heightened vulnerabilities to cyber-attacks, as the Internet of Things (IoT) integrates more deeply into everyday life. The UK's cyber security market, growing over 12% annually before the 5G rollout, is at a strategic inflection point. The government's investment in training ethical hackers underscores the urgency of this issue. As the market prepares for consolidation, with 89 companies positioned for takeovers, the cyber security industry's role in the UK's economic fabric is increasingly paramount.

3D Printing: Reshaping Manufacturing

3D printing has transitioned from a novel concept to a mainstream manufacturing method within a decade. Its application spans diverse fields, from medical to construction, heralding a new era of on-demand, localized production. The UK has embraced this transformative technology, with the 3D printing market experiencing double-digit growth and a steady 5% average margin over the past five years. Despite a stall during the pandemic, the industry's value has been growing at a steady 10%. As the market matures, 43 companies are emerging as attractive acquisition targets.

Healthcare Software: Addressing Demographic Shifts

The UK, like many developed nations, faces an aging population, with projections of a significant increase in individuals over 85 by 2040. This demographic shift, coupled with a decline in younger, working-age populations exacerbated by Brexit, is placing immense pressure on healthcare. Technology, particularly robotics and healthcare software, is increasingly vital in addressing these challenges. The healthcare software market has been growing over 10% annually, with profit margins consistently above 10% and company values soaring by 11% in the latest year. Yet, 55 undervalued companies in this sector present opportunities for strategic investments.

Conclusion: Steering Towards a Sustainable Future

The UK's economic future hinges on its ability to adapt and innovate. The need for green, sustainable solutions and nimble responses to Industry 4.0's challenges are crucial. As traditional industries face potential decline, these emerging sectors offer pathways to a revitalized economy.

Plimsoll's insights into these markets provide valuable guidance for companies seeking to navigate this evolving landscape, whether they are industry leaders or traditional firms looking to diversify. The next decade could well define the UK's economic resilience, it’s place in the world and its ability to lead in a rapidly changing global economy.

Plimsoll provides concise analysis of thousands of British and international markets. Taking the leading companies within each market, our proven Plimsoll Model can reveal the winners and losers in any sector. If you want a concise assessment of every company in your field please visit


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