UK businesses reap sales growth on back of London Olympics, BT survey finds

BT: business growth from Games

BT: business growth from Games

UK businesses reporting sales growth since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games say they boosted revenue by an average of 14%. Those who expect that to carry over into 2013 also predict an 11% increase, according to a new survey published by BT today.  

Despite the wider economic gloom, four out of five UK organisations feel they will continue to benefit from London 2012 this year and they expect an even longer lasting economic legacy, with 58% believing they will still feel benefits in 2015 and nearly a third (29%) hoping the legacy will last at least five years, researchers found.

The BT study, which surveyed 600 large private and public sector organisations, is claimed to be one of the largest barometers of business experience and targets as a direct result of London 2012.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “The 2012 Games are delivering a legacy to benefit the whole country. British businesses were vital to the success of London 2012 – now they are capitalising on the Games and doing more business with more countries. I welcome this report from BT which shows British companies are continuing to derive economic benefits from the Games and they are confident the economic legacy of 2012 will continue in 2013 and beyond.”

Ian Livingston, chief executive, BT Group, said: “BT is very proud to have played such a pivotal role in London 2012. We learned a huge amount from delivering the most connected Games ever and we are now sharing that experience with our customers across the globe. Modern communications technology brought the Games to life for huge numbers of fans and it can play a key role in helping businesses as well.

“It’s clear from our survey British businesses did benefit, but they need to capitalise on the momentum from London 2012 if they want to see a lasting legacy.”

The survey is reported to be the first to compare how organisations across the UK fared against those in previous host nations (Australia and China). It found British organisations seem in a far more determined and optimistic mood than their Australian counterparts now feel about Sydney 2000. The survey found only 37% of Australian businesses believed they prospered from the Games, with the average increase in revenue estimated at around 8%. In contrast, almost all organisations in China (97%t) saw Beijing 2008 as a business opportunity and nine out of 10 believe they prospered.

UK organisations see London 2012 as a great platform for London (77 %) and Britain (63%) and a quarter think they now generate more international business than they did before the Games, mainly from Europe (86%) and Asia (46%), said BT.

Lessons for Brazil

The BT survey also highlights what Brazilian businesses can learn in the run-up to Rio 2016.

More than three in five British organisations (62%) think London 2012 taught them lessons in coping with disruption or uncertainty, most commonly around being better prepared for remote/flexible working (60%) with over half (54%) using technology to increase their responsiveness during the Games.

When asked what advice they would give Brazilian organisations getting ready for 2016, the top responses were to ‘prepare well in advance’ (57%), ‘make sure you have continuity plans in place’ (29%) and ‘plan for increased staff absenteeism’ (28%).

Around four out of five UK organisations (82%) made preparations for London 2012, starting on average 28 months in advance. These companies saw the first signs of increased demand for their products and services 14 months prior to the opening ceremony and all of them now see the opportunity to turn preparation and experience to their longer term advantage, said BT.

Perhaps surprisingly, around one in six UK organisations (17%) are already planning to get involved in Rio 2016, with almost all of them (98%) saying that London 2012 has made them more confident of meeting their objectives. Meanwhile in Brazil, more than four out of five organisations see Rio 2016 as a business opportunity and say they take inspiration from what they saw in London last summer.

The BT survey also showed the sense of renewed confidence and optimism reflected in wider society following London 2012 penetrated the business community.