World’s Top Export Services

Computer services conceptual

Computer services conceptual

Most people fixate on products when it comes to discussing exports. Nevertheless, export services are a critically important yet often overlooked component of international trade.

Consider that export services generated US$14.33 trillion in global sales during 2016, up by 7.9% from $13.28 trillion worth of exported products for 2012.

The global total for exported services compares with $15.9 trillion in overall exported products in 2016, down -14.1% from $18.5 trillion during 2012.

As the above statistical trend suggests, many countries have transitioned from product manufacturers into service economies. So it makes sense that those countries are now selling some of those services on international markets.

Knowing which global services are most in demand can help researchers uncover international business opportunities.

World’s Top Export Services

Below are the top services that generated the highest dollar export sales in 2016. Also shown is each service’s overall share of worldwide export services.

  1. General services: $4.833 trillion (33.7% of global exported services)
  2. Commercial services: $4.764 trillion (33.2%)
  3. Travel services: $1.174 trillion (8.2%)
  4. Miscellaneous business services: $1.052 trillion (7.3%)
  5. Transportation services: $833.4 billion (5.8%)
  6. Telecommunications, communication and computer services: $481.6 billion (3.4%)
  7. Financial services: $410.4 billion (2.9%)
  8. Charges for use of intellectual property: $313 billion (2.2%)
  9. Insurance and pension services: $117.2 billion (0.8%)
  10. Construction services: $82.9 billion (0.6%)
  11. Manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others: $81.6 billion (0.6%)
  12. Miscellaneous maintenance and repair services: $78 billion (0.5%)
  13. Miscellaneous government goods and services: $64.3 billion (0.4%)
  14. Personal, cultural and recreational services: $39.3 billion (0.3%)
  15. Unallocated services: $6 billion (0.04%)

These 15 groupings account for virtually all formally reported global export services.

See also World’s Fastest-Growing Export Services and Top Providers of International Services by Country

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on August 9, 2017

The World Factbook, Field Listing: Exports, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on August 9, 2017

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, Accessed on August 9, 2017