The UK museum market expanded continuously over 2006-2012, with a 6% CAGR to reach £5.4 billion value in 2012. Households accounted for around 53% of total sales in 2012.
Museums are operating in a changing and competitive market. They have a key role to play in education, the leisure industry, regional development, community cohesion and attracting visitors to Britain. However, many have failed to fully develop and implement modern marketing strategies.
Museums in the UK are in a state of transition and are facing a number of special challenges. Traditionally, museums have been important in gathering, preserving and studying historical objects and sites and have had a key educational role.
But this is no longer sufficient to guarantee their survival. Nowadays, modern museum managers must also understand, and more importantly, fully embrace the need to attract visitors and other customers.
In addition to their audience development targets, museums are increasingly expected to participate in the wider political agenda with its focus on regeneration, social inclusion, widening access and the modernisation of public services.
The number of companies declined by 11% over the review period as many small institutions found it difficult to survive; however, their turnover remained stable and was 2% higher in 2012 than in 2006.
London is at the heart of the UK museum market, with over 240 museums located in the region. The majority of government-funded museums stopped charging admission fees in 2001 and, although this was challenged in 2007, this has remained the case.
Following the removal of admission charges, attendances at London museums increased, with a large percentage of the 42 million annual visitors nationwide.
Museums in today's society are required to be agents of economic regeneration through tourism, and community and social regeneration through education.
For more information on the UK museum market, see the latest research: UK Museum Market
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