GoDaddy analysis reveals optimism of UK’s smallest enterprises as micro-business numbers surge in communities across the country

3 min read
Thomas Costello

GoDaddy data shows a 62% year-on-year increase (Q2 2019 – Q2 2020) in new customers in the UK. And when the COVID-19 lockdown was at its height between April and June 2020, GoDaddy observed a 14% increase in micro-business 'births' – brand new ventures – in the UK, compared to between January and March of the same year.

The State of the Nation review also identified six micro-business hubs across the country. These all experienced bursts of micro-business activity between 2017-2019 and have continued their growth trajectory into 2020.

The hubs suggest a suburban revival, as the micro-business activity is concentrated on the outskirts of some of the UK’s largest cities. From Caerphilly to Warrington and Salford to Wellingborough, these not-so-sleepy Suburban Powerhouses are cropping up around the country. With 96% of all UK enterprises identified as “micro-businesses” they will play a key role supporting the country’s economic recovery.

Like the global economic crash of 2008, data from GoDaddy’s 2020 Global Entrepreneurship Survey found job uncertainty today has fuelled some to start new business ventures with 15% of new UK entrepreneurs having made the leap due to job loss or furlough resulting from the pandemic. Many micro-businesses also needed to pivot online for the first time during the pandemic and are now taking advantage of being able to trade and sell their products or services digitally, as a new revenue stream.

Figures from the Global Entrepreneurship Survey, in which 1,000 UK micro-businesses owners were asked about the challenges and opportunities for the sector, also revealed encouraging levels of confidence and resilience, even at the height of the global pandemic. Looking ahead, 85% are confident their business will continue, with a third of these expecting their business to thrive. This is supported by the majority (70%) saying their business will recover fully within 12 months. This is despite 38% of UK’s smallest businesses being forced to close on a temporary basis, and almost three quarters having lost revenue (72%) due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Micro-businesses also still plan to keep up business spending, with 29% confirming that they are continuing to invest in their businesses currently, and 1 in 10 planning to invest more over the next 3-5 years, because of COVID-19.

Irana Wasti, GoDaddy Regional President for EMEA said:

“Our own data and State of the Nation review of official data sources found that suburban hubs outside of major cities are home to a thriving economy of micro-businesses and side hustlers. The UK COVID-19 lockdown has forced changes in many of our working patterns - whether that’s getting businesses to go online for the first time or individuals using the time at home to finally turn a business idea reality.”

“Their growth and resilience are good news for the whole of the UK. They may be small enterprises, but do not underestimate their economic impact, particularly on the local communities they operate in. Micro-businesses account for over 1/5th of the UK economy, so it's vital we do everything we can to keep them supported.” 

GoDaddy is committed to helping the nation’s entrepreneurs rebuild and thrive, supporting them to be found online, to sell their products online, and to engage with customers through new-found means.