The Netherlands importing more business services

In Q1 2018, Dutch companies imported business services worth 16 billion euros, which is 54 percent more than in Q1 2014. The increase was mainly seen in imports of marketing and mediation services from within Europe. These include for example advertising, market research, consultancy and sales agent services. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of new figures on international trade in services.

Service imports into the Netherlands
 Q1 2018 (bn euros)Q1 2014 (bn euros)
Business services15.97110.377
Use of intellectual property10.7728.068
Transport services5.8294.193
Telecommunication and computer services3.6515.207
Travel services3.2722.863
Financial services1.9541.377
Manufacturing services1.1550.659
Personal and recreational services0.5910.158
Construction services0.5610.56
Maintenance and repair0.4740.311
Insurance services0.0730.182
Government services0.0540.047

The largest and fastest-growing type of service imports are business service imports. In Q1 of this year, business services occupied a share of 36 percent in service imports, up from 30.5 percent in Q1 2014.
Over 62 percent of all business service imports in 2018 consist of marketing and mediation services. These also account for the lion’s share of the growth as seen since 2014 (80 percent).

Service imports mainly from within Europe

Business service imports from within Europe showed the highest absolute growth, from nearly 7 billion euros in Q1 2014 to around 10.5 billion euros in the same period this year. Imports from Asia doubled over this period, but involved much smaller amounts. Asia has overtaken North America as the continent which supplies most services after Europe.

Business service imports, Q1
 Europe (bn euros)Asia (bn euros)North America (bn euros)Other (bn euros)

European marketing and mediation services growing in importance

Business service imports from within Europe primarily consist of marketing and mediation services. Expenditure on advertising and market research services nearly tripled from 0.75 billion euros in Q1 2014 to 2.2 billion euros in Q1 2018. In the same period, imports of consultancy and public relations services almost doubled from 1.1 to 2.0 billion euros. At the same time, imports of sales agent services (e.g. agent fees) rose from 2.2 to 3.0 billion euros.

Imports of marketing and mediation services from within Europe, Q1
 2014 (bn euros)2015 (bn euros)2016 (bn euros)2017 (bn euros)2018 (bn euros)
Consultancy and public relations1.091.2741.3121.6712.02
Advertising and market research0.7451.041.4181.9622.165
Sales agents2.2242.9282.0752.9812.996

UK largest supplier of marketing and mediation services

The most important supplier of marketing and mediation services to the Netherlands is the United Kingdom, followed by Germany and Ireland. These three countries together account for 59 percent of this type of service imports within the EU. Ireland mainly exports sales agent services to the Netherlands. Imports of advertising services from this country are limited in terms of their value, but do involve tens of thousands of Dutch importers. These pay relatively small amounts as fees for advertising services that help enhance the company’s visibility or findability on websites.

Major suppliers of marketing and mediation services, Q1 2018
 Consultancy and PR (bn euros)Advertising and market research (bn euros)Sales agents (bn euros)
United Kingdom0.4870.5990.511