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This statistical analysis approaches the creative economies from an industry-based perspective along various submarkets.[1] It presents information on the creative enterprises – that is businesses and employees active in the creative industries sector – and their contribution to Swiss economic activity.

Mapping the Creative Industries Geneva

Our research allows us to analyse the size, importance, trends and regional geography of the creative industries and its 13 submarkets in Switzerland.

Looking at the data, we can explore the number of businesses, employees, full time equivalents, generated gross value added and turnover of the creative industries and its 13 submarkets as well as the development over time and the local importance and specialisation in the cantons.

Source: FSO, STATENT, NA; STATZH, DISAGG-GVA; FTA, VAT; own calculations by Zurich Centre for Creative Economies (ZCCE) at ZHdK


In 2020, around 20,650 persons were employed in Canton of Geneva’s creative industries in 5,000 businesses. This represented 11.8% of Geneva’s businesses and 5.7% of all employees. The creative industries generated an estimated Gross Value Added (GVA) of CHF 2.3 billion and an estimated turnover of CHF 5.3 billion. This corresponded to almost 4.4% of Geneva’s GVA and 1.1% of Geneva’s total turnover.

Employment in Canton of Geneva’s creative industries is highest in the submarkets Architecture market (18.4% of creative industries), Software and games industry (16.6%), Music market (11.2%), Design industry (8.7%), Broadcasting market (7.5%) and Performing arts market (7.1%). These five submarkets account for two thirds of all creative industries jobs.

The figures confirm that the Geneva’s creative industries are dominated by small businesses. 93% are micro-businesses employing up to 10 persons (FTEs). Around three quarters (77.4%) comprise merely one or two persons. Such businesses are known as smallest, i.e., micro-businesses. The pie chart shows that about half (40.4%) of all Geneva’s creative industries employees work in micro-businesses, i.e., in businesses with less than 10 employees.

More than half of the Canton’s creative industries sector is concentrated in the City of Geneva. In 2020, around 12,160 people were employed in the creative industries in the municipality of Geneva in some 2,820 companies. This represented 12.4% of the establishments in the municipality of Geneva and 6.6% of all employees. The creative industries in the City of Geneva generated an estimated gross value added (GVA) of CHF 1.3 billion and an estimated turnover of CHF 3.0 billion. This corresponds to 4.9% of municipality of Geneva’s GVA and 1.0% of total turnover.


In the first pandemic year 2020, the number of businesses in the creative industries Canton of Geneva decreased by 164 units compared to the previous year (-3.2%) to 4,998 businesses. Prior to that, this number had been rising steadily since 2011, by an average of 2.2% per year. The slump in 2020 was much more pronounced in the creative industries than in the overall economy, where there was a minus of -0.2% workplaces. The Film industry (-8.8%) and Broadcasting market (-8.3%) were most affected by the decline.

In the same period, the number of employees in the creative industries, which had increased almost constantly since 2011, shrank by 1,015 employees (-4.7%) to 20,653 employees. The Music industry (-11.7%) and Design industry (-11.6%) were particularly affected. In the overall economy, the number of employees fell by 1.7%.

The Covid-19 pandemic is particularly visible in the macroeconomic indicators of the creative industries. While overall economy’s nominal gross value added fell by 4.7% from 2019 to 2020, the creative industries sector’s nominal gross value added fell by 16.4% to a value of CHF 2.3 billion, a decline three times as large. The submarkets Performing arts market (-38.5%) and Music industry (-36.9%) were hit hardest.[2]


Based on the classification for creative industries and its 13 submarkets according to ZCCE, we calculate the size and the development of the creative industries in Switzerland using the Structural Business Statistics (STATENT), the National Accounts (NA) and the Value Added Tax (VAT).[3]

In Switzerland, the creative industries sector is defined, with reference to the European debate, as those cultural and creative enterprises that are predominantly market oriented and are concerned with the production, distribution and media dissemination of cultural and creative goods and services.

The creative industries Switzerland are subdivided into 13 submarkets.[4] It is here that products and services are created, either for other production and service sectors or directly for the final consumer market. In this sense, the cultural and creative industries are mainly assigned to the private sector of cultural production – thus neither to the public sector (public cultural promotion) nor to the intermediate sector (foundations, associations). However, artists and creative professionals are often active in all three sectors. From their point of view, the three submarkets should be seen as parts of the same system. In addition to its own market structures, the cultural and creative industries also build on the creative potential of the public and non-profit sub-sectors and has an innovative effect on them. Therefore, the cultural and creative industries can only be seen as a holistic system.[5]

Further information in our Creative Economies Reports and in the Research Notes.


[1] See also our complementary analysis on creative workers, that is the employed persons working in the creative sector as well as persons working in creative occupations outside the creative industries.

[2] The real development of GVA is not (yet) available for methodological reasons. However, the structural business statistics (STATENT) only partially reflects the pandemic’s impact: Thanks to short-time working and loss of earnings allowances, a significant proportion of Old-age and survivor’s insurance (OASI) contributions continued to be paid, even when employees were prohibited from carrying out their work. The data underlying STATENT cannot therefore fully reflect the declines in activity in some sectors. A specific series for the years affected by COVID-19 must therefore be constructed (see FSO, experimental statistics).

[3] See Christoph Weckerle, Simon Grand, Frédéric Martel, Roman Page and Fabienne Schmuki, Entrepreneurial Strategies for a Positive Economy, 3rd Creative Economies Report Switzerland, Zürich 2018.
See Christoph Weckerle, Roman Page, Simon Grand: Von der Kreativwirtschaft zu den Creative Economies. Kreativwirtschaftsbericht Schweiz, Zürich 2016.

[4] See the classification of creative industries according to the approach used by the ZCCE in the annexe.

[5] See Christoph Weckerle, Hubert Theler, Die Bedeutung der Kultur- und Kreativwirtschaft für den Standort Zürich, Dritter Kreativwirtschaftsbericht Zürich, ZHdK 2010.

Roman Page

Roman Page

Research Fellow & Data Analyst, Zurich Centre for Creative Economies (ZCCE) at Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)

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