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Lockdown fuels rise in start-ups, e-com boom: UK study

Oct '20
Pic: Royal Mail
Pic: Royal Mail
The pandemic-induced lockdown had the unexpected side effect of giving rise to a leap in the number of new firms being formed in the United Kingdom, with e-commerce delivery start-ups leading the pack, according to a new study commissioned by Royal Mail. During the March-July lockdown, 315,000 firms were incorporated—a 7 per cent rise compared to the same period in 2019.

Between April and June, 176,000 start-ups were recorded, the highest for any second quarter on record, exceeding the previous record high set in 2016.

The data suggests that the unique circumstances prompted by the pandemic and the associated lockdown have prompted a spike in entrepreneurial activity.

Many entrepreneurs and small businesses have been quick to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions, which have resulted in more consumers shopping online. Fleet-of-foot entrepreneurs have reacted by creating new business models that cater to growing numbers of home deliveries.

The highest rates of new business creation have been within e-commerce, followed by the services sector and property, Royal Mail said in a press release.

Nearly 16,000 e-commerce businesses were created between March and July this year. The e-commerce boom reflects the changing patterns of consumer behaviour, including the way customers shop, which were largely enforced by lockdown measures.

Non-financial management consultancy activities are the next best performer, seeing just over 11,000 new incorporations during the same time period.

The findings mirror what is happening in Royal Mail’s delivery network. In the first five months of the year, Royal Mail reported a substantial shift in its business from letters to parcels. Parcel volumes rose by 34 per cent (177 million more parcels) while revenue rose by 33.1 per cent year on year for the five months ended 31 August. The strong growth in parcel volumes is being driven by business-to-consumer commerce and e-commerce.

Between March and July, 26 postcodes saw the number of incorporations at least double, with growth spread across different regions of the country.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)

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