Creative Industries Switzerland

In 2015, roughly 284,000 persons were employed in Switzerland’s creative industries in around 75,000 businesses. This represented 11 % of Swiss businesses and 6 % of all employees. The creative industries generated an estimated Gross Value Added (GVA) of CHF 23 billion and an estimated turnover of CHF 60 billion. This corresponded to almost 4 % of Switzerland’s GVA and 2 % of Switzerland’s total turnover. In recent years, growth in the creative industries has been more positive than in the overall economy. This dynamic development is expected to continue. Between 2013 and 2015, the average number of employees in all submarkets increased by 2.4 %, the number of businesses by 6.4 % and GVA by 5.4 %. Thus, the creative industries, a complex of different economic activities, grew significantly more than the overall economy, where growth is roughly one fifth lower for businesses (+ 1.9 %) and about half lower for the number of employees and for GVA (+ 3.2 % and + 2.5 % respectively).

Employment is highest in the architecture market, the software and games industry, the music industry and the press market. These four submarkets account for more than half of all creative industries professionals. The number of creative industries businesses, employees and GVA has outperformed the overall economy in recent years. Total turnover, on the other hand, declined as sharply as in the overall economy. Comparing 2013 and 2015 reveals an interesting situation, which deserves closer scrutiny: according to national VAT statistics, total turnover sharply declined both in the creative industries (–12.6%) and in the overall economy (–11.4%). Whereas two of the three highest turnover submarkets declined (software and games industry CHF 15.2 billion / –33.3%; the press market CHF 6.7 billion / –11.4%), architecture (CHF 11.1 billion) grew slightly by 0.9%. Conversely, the advertising market (CHF 6.0 billion) increased by almost 16%. Broadcasting (CHF 4.0 billion / +7.7%), crafts (CHF 1.9 billion / +5.8%), the performing arts (CHF 0.7 billion / +4.4%) and design (CHF 4.6 billion / +3.3%) exhibited positive dynamics. According to national VAT statistics, the greatest slump besides the software and games industry (CHF 15.2 billion /–33.3%) occurred in the book market (CHF 1.7 billion /–18.1%), audio-visual technology market (CHF 2.2 billion / –17.4%), art (CHF 1.7 billion / –17.3%) and film (CHF 2.4 billion / –14.1%). Compared to the number of employees, businesses and GVA, which outperformed corresponding figures for the overall economy, turnover in the creative industries revealed a different picture. Whereas creative industries employment (creative industries +2.4%, overall economy +1.9%), businesses (creative industries +6.4%, overall economy +3.2%) and GVA (creative industries +5.4%, overall economy +2.5%) grew faster in the period 2013–2015 than the overall Swiss economy, creative industries total turnover declined to a similar extent (creative industries –12.6%, overall economy –11.4%).Figure 1 shows that more than half of all Swiss creative industries professionals work in micro-businesses, i.e., in businesses with less than 10 employees. Some sectors diverge from this overall picture due to their production conditions. Thus, the high proportion of large businesses (250 + employees) in broadcasting can be explained by the few businesses active in the small Swiss market and by resource-intensive production.

Segmentation has advantages and disadvantages. Small means flexible and being able to merge into network-like structures to create new, innovative production and utilisation contexts. Small also means dispersal, barely possessing any flagship enterprises able to shape public perception or able and willing to conduct professional lobbying.

A Note on Methodology: Based on official statistics, this report attempts to capture the complex creation, production, dissemination and exploitation processes of the creative industries and their submarkets. This approach has undisputed advantages such as independent and professional data collection, updating and international comparability. At the same time, it is challenging to map relatively coarse grid of official statistics onto the slender structures of the creative industries. This is especially true when the dynamics of the market are ahead of the statistical system. Moreover, official statistics may lag behind current developments due to the established survey methods and the defined quality standards. We have therefore supplemented statistical materials with a selection of brief statements from actors and organisations. These are up-to-date, coloured, merely represent a specific section and lay no claim to represent the creative industries and their submarkets as a whole. This comparative reading sharpens one’s view of matters.

Creative Industries Switzerland

The aggregated presentation of the Swiss creative industries is not surprising: the Zurich region is definitely the hotspot. The Basel region also stands out. Relative concentrations are also evident in Lausanne, southern Ticino and Zug. What does the tension between urban and rural areas mean for Switzerland’s creative industries? The following submarket portraits reveal a more differentiated picture for the individual sectors. Analyses based on such mappings need to be deepened.