By Daniel Hunter

The number of beauty businesses in the UK has risen by over a fifth in the last four years, according to new data from Barclays Business. Barclays has seen a significant increase in the number of small beauty businesses since 2010, in addition to a 24% rise in the combined turnover of these businesses over the same time period.

The proliferation of businesses in the beauty industry, which include beauty salons, hairdressers and tanning parlours, contributes £4bn to the UK economy2. The majority of beauty business SMEs are sole traders (62%), with 6% of owners under the age of 25, twice the rate of under-25s owning SMEs more generally (2.3%). In addition, a quarter of beauty businesses are owned by men.

London is the region with the biggest percentage of beauty businesses, for a fifth (19%) of Barclays SME customers, and also saw the most dramatic rise over the past four years (33%). The East of England follows with 13.8% while the South East is close behind with 13.7%.

Sue Hayes, Head of SME banking at Barclays, commented: “We’ve seen a significant rise in the number of beauty business owners coming to us for support, particularly over the last four years. It’s an industry where small and medium businesses are increasingly finding opportunities from market demand, and we’ve also seen a jump in the number of younger entrepreneurs in this sector. The growth of the UK’s ageing population and a boom in online consumer behaviour has also fuelled expansion. The fast-growing men’s market is an area predicted to rise in the next few years.

“We support businesses in all stages in growth; from offline businesses looking to obtain their first premises or seeking advice on their business plans through to digital offerings for online companies. Many UK businesses are following in the footsteps of beauty brands such as Jo Malone and Molton Brown which have huge international appeal, and we also support companies wanting to reach their full potential overseas.”

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