Retail best industry for UK start-ups, research finds

Research found that new retail businesses created between 2014 and 2019 had an average 75% survival rate

Retail has been named as the UK’s best industry for start-ups, according to new research from cloud accounting company Ember.

It found that retail trade, with the exception of motor vehicles and motorcycles, ranked first after scoring highly in a number of key indicators for business success.

The research used ONS data to assess 15 broad industry groups on factors including the number of businesses that were started between 2014 and 2019, compared to the number that failed in that time period, and the number of companies in that sector turning over more than £1m. 

Retail topped the overall industry rankings thanks to “one of the highest survival rates, and a healthy ratio of companies being started compared to businesses failing”. 

In addition, the research found that new retail businesses created between 2014 and 2019 had an average 75% survival rate, and as one of the most common businesses in the UK, the potential market is large.

Construction ranked second place after retail, while wholesale, which is defined by the government as separate from retail, ranked as the third for business success.

The motor trades industry came in fourth place however, but had the best average survival rate for companies, while the property industry ranked fifth in the list.

Of the 15 broad industry groups in the analysis, finance and insurance rated as the least “favourable industry” in which to start a new business, but did have one of the lowest survival rates for new companies.

Ember co-founder Daniel Hogan said: “It’s fascinating to see how the UK’s different industries perform in this analysis, and there are some very interesting insights for the country’s would-be entrepreneurs. Retail’s good survival rate and high ratio of new businesses make it a very attractive proposition for start-ups.”

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