Value of UK hair and beauty industry grew by 13 per cent between 2011 and 2016 and nearly a third of the UK’s hair and beauty businesses operate in the South East.


New research by small business insurer Direct Line for Business reveals that nearly one in three hair beauty and nail businesses operate in the South East of England.

The analysis, which looked at the number of beauty salons, hairdressers and nail technicians across the UK, showed that there are nearly 29,000 of these businesses based in the South East.  This dwarfs the next closest region, the North West, which has around 11,000 hair and beauty businesses.

This gives the South East the highest density of hair and beauty businesses, with around one salon for every 252 adults in the region. Furthermore, the hair, nail and beauty industry makes up over three per cent of all SMEs in the region.

The research also shows that the industry has been booming in recent years, with its turnover growing from £6.2 billion in 2011 to almost £7 billion in 2016, an increase of £800 million, or 13 per cent3. This growth has been boosted by the unprecedented rise of hair salons and nail bars on the UK’s high streets, with 25,000 more people employed in the industry last year than the five years before that.

Jane Guaschi, Business Manager at Direct Line for Business, said: “The beauty industry has been greatly boosted by rise of social media celebrities such as Zoella and Kylie Jenner. Coupled with this, the looks being popularised by the cast of TOWIE have increased the demand for treatments in recent years. On the high street we’ve seen an explosion in growth with new nail salons and hairdressers opening across the UK to cater for the increased demand.”

“With so many hair, nail and beauty businesses popping up across the nation, owners should ensure that they have the right insurance to cover them as they grow.”


Number and proportion of hair and beauty businesses in the UK, 2016: Source: Direct Line for Business, 2017

Region Number of hair and beauty businesses Hair and beauty businesses’ share of the region’s SMEs in per cent Number of UK adults per hair and beauty company
South East 28,797 3.2 252
North West 10,868 2.1 536
South West 7,911 1.5 571
Yorkshire and The Humber 7,867 2.0 556
Scotland 7,602 2.3 587
London 6,828 0.7 1,012
East Midlands 6,488 1.8 588
West Midlands 4,853 1.2 954
Wales 4,196 1.9 606
North East 3,703 2.5 583
East Anglia 3,472 0.6 1,417
Northern Ireland 2,912 2.4 504
UK total 95,497 1.7  553