From in-store to online: the rise of start-ups during the coronavirus pandemic

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of new business start-ups has increased by 5 per cent during the third quarter of this year, compared to the same period in 2019.

Despite expectations that the creation of new businesses would be a lot lower due to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic, there were 95,395 new companies added to the Government’s Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) in the third quarter.

These organisations had a smaller amount of employees and turnover, plus they were in industries that were less affected by the pandemic – such as administrative and professional services which could offer more homeworking opportunities.

A study, commissioned by the Royal Mail, discovered that e-commerce delivery was the sector with the most start-ups during the lockdown period, succeeded by the services and property sector.

The pandemic and the national lockdown altered people’s routines and work-life, meaning entrepreneurial activity increased during this time, and a lot of small UK business owners had to adapt to the restrictions.

Home deliveries were surging during the lockdown, and continue to do so as consumers have shown a lasting preference for it. These new behavioural patterns from customers have meant more businesses set up shop online.

Approximately 16,000 e-commerce businesses were formed in the period from March to July 2020, with the coronavirus resulting in many businesses seeking to take advantage of the new opportunities available through a change in consumer habits.