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Wholesale and retail businesses “most successful” after COVID-19

Tom Bottomley
17 August 2022

New research has revealed that the wholesale industry prospered the most post-pandemic when compared with other industries studied, while businesses in retail were found to be the next most successful.

The study, by marketing training hub School of Marketing, analysed the latest ONS and government data on the number of businesses that were born and died in the last eight business quarters after the pandemic – from Q2 2020 to Q1 2022.

They were compared with the eight quarters before the pandemic, from Q2 of 2018 to Q1 of 2020, to see how each industry has been affected in the last two years.

Pre-pandemic, for every 100 wholesale businesses born, 101.5 businesses died. This result decreased by 20% post-pandemic, where in the last eight business quarters, only 81.44 businesses have died for every 100 wholesale businesses born.

Meanwhile, in retail, pre-pandemic there were on average 79.75 business deaths for every 100 business births, but this number has dropped 12% post-pandemic with roughly 69.94 businesses dying for every 100 births since the second quarter of 2020.

In the top five best performing industries post-pandemic after wholesale and retail, accommodation and food services came in third, motor trades fourth and health and social care fifth.

The IT industry was found to be the most affected, seeing the biggest increase in business deaths compared to births post-pandemic. Pre-pandemic, for every 100 businesses born in the industry, 91.51 businesses died. That number increased by 89% post-pandemic, with 173.24 business deaths for 100 new ones.

Across the board, it was also found that in the eight business quarters from April 2018 up to March 2020, the UK average was that 86.58 businesses died for every 100 that were born.

Post-pandemic that number increased by 16%, with current figures showing that for every 100 new businesses, roughly 100.67 have died, making the average number of business births and deaths almost equal since the pandemic began.

Ritchie Mehta, CEO of School of Marketing, said: “This data shows how much more difficult it has become to survive as a business since the pandemic. In the two years before the impact of COVID-19, on average more businesses were created than closed each quarter, but now the numbers of company births and deaths are basically equal.

“As entrepreneurs look to protect themselves against a harsher business environment, the value of skilled employees has never been higher. Therefore, SMEs can take advantage of initiatives such as the Apprenticeship Levy scheme to bring in new staff or train current ones in digital and data-led programmes, with the vast majority of the training cost covered by the levy.”

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