While mass-market players continue to dominate the UK retail industry, research by Geek Retreat shows that 15% of Brits have set up their own business in the past ten years, and of these, 44% have done so since 2020. 

Retail was the most popular sector for start-ups, with 19% of the 1060 surveyed UK consumers owning an independent business.

The findings also show that more women (52%) have started their own business in the past three years, compared to men (30%).

The motivations and operations behind retail start-ups

The top three drivers for making the decision to go it alone were to earn more money (43%), people wanting to be their own boss (41%) and needing greater flexibility (35%) which respondents stated they believed was achievable through running their own business.

The entrepreneurial spirit has also gripped teenagers in the US, with 14% expressing an interest in starting their own retail shop.

Whilst over two thirds (68%) said that they run the business on their own, 19% said they had an equal partner and 13% said they had set up with members of the family. 

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However, when it comes to exit strategies, plans are somewhat lacking. Over one third (37%) said they hadn’t thought about what they will do with the business when they retire, 23% said they would close it down and 18% said they would pass it on to a family member.

The next few years will prove crucial for small retailers as the market conditions set by the pandemic become increasingly distant and the UK continues to grapple with inflation.