Market analysis of the UK’s consumer retail social enterprise – Social Enterprise UK

Social enterprise UK (SEUK) has conducted a brief market analysis of UK social enterprises that sell retail products to consumers (consumer retail social enterprises). This analysis explores the size and growth potential of this sector, its social and environmental impact and barriers to growth.

  • The research (Nov 2021) finds that there are around 36,000 – 43,000 consumer retail social enterprises: this is over a third of social enterprises operating in the UK.
  • About 360 new social enterprises planning to sell retail products to consumers are being set up each month in the UK.
  • Three-quarters expect their consumer retail business to grow in the next 12 months and of these almost a third expect substantial growth.
  • There is an optimistic and rapidly growing start-up segment which further indicates growth potential in retail social enterprises with the right support. 40% of those established in the last year expect to ‘grow a lot.’
  • Retail sales are often not the social enterprises primary income source most consumer retail social enterprises also generate revenue from other means and many work across non-retail sectors. This indicates further potential growth of these businesses can increase retail sales as a proportion of their trading income.
  • Social enterprises that sell retail products have diverse leadership and social and environmental missions, making their work inclusive and impactful.

Read the full report here

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