Despite the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 UK has witnessed a record number of new companies established in June

The current COVID-19 pandemic often leads to predictions of substantial financial hardship for businesses. Some countries expect a significant GDP decrease followed by a recession. The broader impact of the coronavirus on individual economies will be affected by governments’ policies and companies’ ability to adapt. It seems that the UK government has managed quite well and a lot of entrepreneurs actually established new businesses in recent weeks. Our analysis is based on data available in the HitHorizons database, which uses data from the UK Companies House.

Key fact and figures:

  • As a result of measures undertaken by the UK government, a record low number of companies have shut down since April 2020 - just 1,341 businesses in June 2020
  • In June 2020 a record number of companies were established – 77,586 This represents a 47% YOY increase
  • The highest increase in the number of new companies established was in the London region - a 67% YOY increase
  • The highest number of newly established companies operate in Retail sale via mail order houses or via internet - 6.4% total
  • 45% of newly established companies operating in online sales were launched in Greater London

Incorporation and dissolution trend

The graph below shows that in the past 5 years June 2020 had the highest number of newly established companies with a total of 77,586 business launched. This represents a 47% YOY increase compared to June 2019. On the other hand, the number of companies closed is at record low levels since April 2020. Data available in our database shows that only 1,341 businesses were closed in June 2020. This decrease is related to measures undertaken by the UK government in response to the pandemic. Under this measures, Companies House has temporarily paused the strike off process in order to prevent companies being dissolved. Companies will have more time to update their records to avoid dissolution.

The highest increase in the number of newly established companies was in London, where 27,861 companies were launched in June 2020 - this represents a 67% YOY increase. The lowest increase was in Wales with just a 10% increase YOY.

Explore regularly updated data on established and closed UK businesses

Incorporation and dissolution of companies by month in United Kingdom

What do those newly established companies do?

Most of the companies established in June 2020 operate in Retail sale via mail order houses or via internet - total of 6.4%. Among the total number of UK companies just 1.8% focus on this activity. The prevalence of this SIC code (Standard Industrial Classification) among the newly established companies is an indication of the market adapting to the increased popularity of online shopping among consumers.

Our data also shows an increase in Real Estate - more specifically in Other letting and operating of own or leased real estate (5.2% or newly established companies) and Buying and selling own real estate (4.1% of newly established companies). Overall, in the whole UK, these SIC codes are assigned to a lower percentage of companies compared to companies established in June 2020 - 3.6% with Other letting and operating of own real estate and 2.3% with Buying and selling of own real estate. This increase in the number of newly established companies in Real Estate indicates increased activity in this sector during the pandemic.

To find more detailed insights regarding to companies from United Kingdom use our UK Screener.

Top 20 SIC codes of companies incorporated in June 2020 in United Kingdom

SIC Code Industry Number of Companies
Retail sale via mail order houses or via Internet (47910) 4,914 6.4% Wholesale, retail 4,914
Other letting and operating of own or leased real estate (68209) 3,963 5.2% Real Estate 3,963
Management consultancy activities other than financial management (70229) 3,167 4.1% Science 3,167
Buying and selling of own real estate (68100) 3,129 4.1% Real Estate 3,129
Other service activities n.e.c. (96090) 3,051 4.0% Service 3,051
Other business support service activities n.e.c. (82990) 2,456 3.2% Administrative 2,456
Freight transport by road (49410) 2,036 2.7% Transportation 2,036
Construction of domestic buildings (41202) 1,995 2.6% Construction 1,995
Take-away food shops and mobile food stands (56103) 1,958 2.6% Accommodation 1,958
Information technology consultancy activities (62020) 1,722 2.2% ICT 1,722
Dormant Company (99999) 1,541 2.0% Dormant 1,541
Development of building projects (41100) 1,515 2.0% Construction 1,515
Other retail sale not in stores, stalls or markets (47990) 1,494 2.0% Wholesale, retail 1,494
Hairdressing and other beauty treatment (96020) 1,448 1.9% Service 1,448
Other human health activities (86900) 1,260 1.6% Health 1,260
Management of real estate on a fee or contract basis (68320) 1,242 1.6% Real Estate 1,242
Non-specialised wholesale trade (46900) 1,102 1.4% Wholesale, retail 1,102
Residents property management (98000) 1,055 1.4% Home 1,055
Other retail sale in non-specialised stores (47190) 1,035 1.4% Wholesale, retail 1,035
Retail sale of clothing in specialised stores (47710) 1,023 1.3% Wholesale, retail 1,023
Other 50,685 66.2% 50,685

Where were most of the newly established companies with popular SIC codes launched?

Most of the companies established in June 2020 and operating in Retail sale via mail order houses or via internet are based in the county or Greater London - 2,191 companies. This represents 44.7% of all companies included in this analysis. Greater London is followed by Greater Manchester (5.5%) and West Midlands (4%).

To find more detailed insights regarding to companies from United Kingdom use our UK Screener.

Top 15 United Kingdom counties with the highest number of companies operating in Retail sail via mail order houses or via Internet in June 2020

County Number of Companies
Greater London 2,191 44.7% 2,191
Greater Manchester 267 5.5% 267
West Midlands 195 4.0% 195
West Yorkshire 144 2.9% 144
Merseyside 106 2.2% 106
Essex 99 2.0% 99
Kent 96 2.0% 96
Hertfordshire 90 1.8% 90
Berkshire 81 1.7% 81
Cheshire 79 1.6% 79
Lancashire 67 1.4% 67
Surrey 62 1.3% 62
Leicestershire 60 1.2% 60
Dorset 59 1.2% 59
Nottinghamshire 58 1.2% 58
Other 1,244 25.4% 1,244

If you are interested in more details regarding incorporation of companies in UK
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