" class="no-js "lang="en-US"> SumUp Reveals UK Optimism on the State of Small Business in 2021
Sunday, December 03, 2023

Global financial technology company, SumUp, reveals UK optimism on the state of small business in 2021

Global financial technology company SumUp (www.sumup.co.uk) has today revealed the year in review for small businesses and nano merchants in the United Kingdom. Based in London, SumUp has taken a deep-dive into merchant data from across the UK, analysing data from SumUp’s UK-based merchants, and trawled through a year’s worth of transactions, to reveal changes in business operations, consumer demand, and general patterns and shifts.


The data shows that:
● Of merchants surveyed by SumUp in the UK, almost two-thirds (65%) are feeling positive that their business will grow in 2022. This is around 15% above the average observed at Pan-EU level.
● Over half (53%) of merchants have made changes in response to the pandemic, and of those merchants, 56% introduced other payment technologies such as QR codes, mobile payment, payment by link, and a quarter had digitised their business.
● On customer behaviour, more than 70% of merchants said that customers are more likely to pay via cashless means.
● In 2021, the UK saw a growth of 4.2% in the amount of transactions paid by contactless technology, going from 83.5% in 2020 to 87% in 2021.

● There has been a 40.9% increase in business activity by UK merchants.

●The UK has the greatest share of contactless transactions compared with France (65%), Italy (71%) and Germany (49%).
● From a growth perspective, the cities that recorded the greatest increase in contactless payments are Glasgow (6.5%) and Newcastle (5.2%). Newcastle now records the most contactless payments, as a percentage of total transactions.
● For 2021, the city with the highest contactless share is Newcastle, with 89% (up 5.2%). It is followed by Bristol with 88.1% share (up 3.8%). Data shows shares in other cities being: Manchester 88% (up 3.9%); Glasgow 87% (up 6.5%); London 85.9% (up 1.6%); and Belfast 83.9% (up 1.8%).


The growth sectors, by business volume in GBP were, unsurprisingly, activity-based as the nation re-emerged into the outside world post-lockdowns:
■ Music, concerts and cinema 91%
■ Taxis and limousines 85.5%
■ Medical services 66.3%
■ Bars and clubs 64.6%
■ Recreation and entertainment 59.8%


● Manchester (52%) and Bristol (40%) have experienced the biggest growth, by city, over the course of 2021 in business activity*.

● Small businesses are increasingly taking lower sums by non-cash mediums as the proportion of transactions between £6-10 increased by 2% in 2021 and transactions above £50 decreased by 5% in 2021.
● Average basket value per merchant transaction, on a national level, decreased by 7.9% from £19.40 to £17.90.


SumUp co-founder Marc-Alexander Christ says: “SumUp has been on the side of UK small business owners for a decade, and we’re proud to support the hard-working strivers that drive the UK economy.  Over the past year, we have observed changes in consumer behaviour, and SumUp is providing solutions to these changes through our evolving and expanded product offering, and listening to merchant needs.”

Data source: SumUp reviewed company data from 01.01.21 – 30.11.21 and comparisons are made versus 01.01.20 to 30.11.20. Business activity, in this instance, is the average number of transactions per merchant.

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