There are now 4.5 million SMEs in the UK. They’re the beating heart of the country’s economy, and they have the potential to build a truly sustainable recovery.
That’s a fact that’s in evidence today. Our latest research shows a 90 per cent increase since 2010 in the number of small businesses tapping into a growing trend for consumer luxury services. This data underscores the agility of the UK’s small businesses. They are adept at identifying and seizing new market opportunities, and they have moved quickly to make the most of this shift in consumer spending.
SMEs are uniquely well placed to do this. They are generally lean – in fact, according to the FSB, 62 per cent of all the country’s businesses are sole proprietorships. They can change direction swiftly and effectively, allowing them to maximise opportunities in a way that larger firms sometimes cannot.
But our research also contains good news for the economy at large. There has been an increase of 56 per cent in the number of new construction businesses since 2010, and of 86 per cent for domestic builders. The construction industry is a key indicator for general economic health, and these figures therefore give hope that the UK is returning to an even keel.
This is a marked difference from five years ago, when the country remained in the grip of one of the worst financial crises in living memory. Consumers’ purse strings are being loosened, and our figures suggest that they are increasingly willing to spend on things like improving their homes – a healthy sign for the country’s medium-term future.
Indeed, that trend is reflected across many different business types. We’ve seen an increase of 155 per cent in manicurists, 110 per cent for masseurs, 101 per cent for beauticians, and 79 per cent for hairdressers.
Clearly, increased discretionary spending is helping to birth a new generation of entrepreneurs. They are seizing the opportunity presented by a resurgent economy, and it is this pattern that will return the UK to sustainable growth.
As the UK emerges from recession, the country’s small businesses are flexing their muscles. This is an entrepreneurial country, and SMEs are demonstrating what makes them great. These thousands of agile, enterprising business owners are the bedrock of the UK’s future success, and thiss survey is a heartening example not only of their continued vitality, but also of the economy’s returning health.