Start-up Success: Half a Million (468,000) UK businesses registered in 2020, in spite of Covid

Despite the events of the year, nearly half a million businesses were registered in the UK in 2020 (468,371), according to data taken from Companies House.  

The research, conducted by online printing specialists, instantprint, combined desk research and national survey data to learn more about the businesses that were registered in the UK in the last 12 months as well as examining the nation’s plans for 2021.

Owing to the unpredictable impact of Covid-19, a reported 9.9million UK jobs were furloughed between April and December last year, resulting in many UK adults pivoting their careers, starting completely afresh and picking up a side hustles as a way of making money during the turbulent year.  

The most popular start-up in 2020 was in the retail sales sector (both online and via mail order houses) with 22,011 new registrations in this field. Other popular choices included management consultancy (16,869), the buying and selling of own real estate (16,747) and freight transport via road (10,848). 

June was the peak month for new business registrations in 2020, with 52,281 registrations that month alone. Comparatively, January was the least busy with just 25,403 registrations.  

The 27th week of the year (29th June – 5th July) was the busiest week for new registrations – 18,189 were made that week alone.  

By breaking down the available data further, instantprint found that the highest number of registrations happened on June 8th, with 4,759 made in a single day. Incidentally, this was the same day that Matt Hancock announced that covid-fatalities were also at their lowest since 21st March. 

Tuesday was the most popular day in which to register a business in 2020 (98,740), whilst Saturdays were the least (8,076) busy for registrations.  

London (123,462 registrations), Birmingham (11,165 registrations), and Manchester (9,684 registrations) were found to be the cities with the highest number of new company registrations in 2020. 

Top 20 UK cities for new business registrations in 2020: 

Town/City No. of New Businesses Registered 
London 123,462 
Birmingham 11,185 
Manchester 9,684 
Glasgow 6,166 
Leicester 5,549 
Leeds 5,130 
Bristol 4,897 
Liverpool 4,629 
Nottingham 3,893 
Ilford 3,102 
Edinburgh 3,087 
Sheffield 2,917 
Coventry 2,677 
Harrow 2,611 
Luton 2,447 
Bradford 2,413 
Cardiff 2,362 
Northampton 2,346 
Bolton 2,228 
Milton Keynes 2,162 

 
Looking ahead in to 2021, survey data found almost a fifth of UK adults (18%) have firm plans to start a business in 2021, with a further third (29%) considering doing so too. 

Millennials (25–34-year-olds), were found to be most likely to want to launch a start-up in 2021 (32%), whilst almost forty per cent (39%) of 18-24-year-olds will potentially do so in 2021. 

London (28%), Birmingham (26%), Bristol (21%), Manchester (21%) and Newcastle (17%), came out as the top cities for residents looking to start a business in 2021. Liverpool (67%) was found to be the city with the highest percentage of residents who were least likely to do so. 

While Covid-19 restrictions remain in place, most of those launching a new business in the first 2-3 months of 2021 are expected to do some from home. Those contemplating taking the plunge and launch their own business from home may find themselves faced with a number of distractions, especially whilst schools are still closed.  

instantprint previously revealed that children (28%) were found to be the biggest distraction for UK adults working from home. Partners (24%), pets (20%) and chores around the home (20%) were also high on the list.  

Laura Mucklow, Head of instantprint, commented on the findings: 

“There really has been no easier time to run a business out of your home, and it’s great to see the number of business ventures being embarked upon by UK adults, despite the events the year has presented us with.  

“Whether you’re looking to start a side hustle or start a fresh with a complete career change, the sky’s the limit in terms of opportunities, it’s about finding something that works for you, and making sure you’re fully equipped to market and promote your start-up, wherever you run it from. 

“Judging by results of our survey, 2021 looks to be another booming year for start-ups and we’re keen to see what the new year brings.” 

Author: Editorial Team

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