Report April 2021

In a nutshell

We analyse Companies House “basic company data” up to the March 31st, 2021. New company registrations remain strong throughout the third lockdown with similar set up as last month (see report March 2021). There are particularly strong increases in online retail businesses, food and drink, household-related activities and renting recreational and sports goods businesses.


  1. Business creation increased 13.22% between February 2021 and March 2021.
  2. Business creation increased 48.12% between March 2020 and March 2021.
  3. The largest number of company registrations occurs in ‘Retail sale via mail order houses or via Internet’ sector.

Aggregate Analysis


The chart below shows the daily company incorporations in the UK since January 2020. The lockdown periods correspond to our key dates timeline.

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  • Business creation increased 13.22% between January and February 2021.
  • 28,662 additional companies were registered in March 2021 relative to March 2019.
  • The median daily registrations were 48.1% higher in March 2021 than March 2019.
  • The median daily registrations during lockdown-III is 31.73% higher than in lockdown-I, but almost the same as lockdown-II.

The chart below shows the rolling average of firm creation since January 2019. Shaded areas correspond to lockdown periods as shown our key dates timeline.


Company registrations persistently exceed their 2019 and 2020 levels. Week 12 in 2020 marks the beginning of the first national lockdown. The ratio between 2021/2020 is lower than 2021/2019 apart from week 12. We observe a higher ratio in week 12 because the business creation during lockdown-III is significantly higher (31.73%) than during lockdown-I.

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Average company registrations in March 2021 are 48.12% higher than March 2020 and 56.5% higher than March 2019.

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Regional Analysis

Postcode Area

The map shows the percentage change in new registrations in March 2021 compared to March 2019.


The following graph aggregates business creation by country. We separate London from England. In March 2021, firm creation remains higher in all regions than it was in 2019. On average, Scotland keeps experiencing the fewest new daily registrations. London continues to dominate business registrations.

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Within London, most of the business creation in March 2021 comes from Central and North London.

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Sectoral Analysis

SIC Sections

The graph illustrates company registrations in March 2021 relative to 2019 by industrial sector. It compares the percentage change in 2021 relative to 2019 for each week of the year. We use 4-digit SIC levels (ONS “Classes”) and group them into broader sectors (ONS “Sections”). We use the ONS classification. We show a selection of sectors that present notable increases.

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  • March 2021 has higher firm creation in most sectors than March 2019.
  • ‘Activities of households as employers; undifferentiated goods-and services-producing activities’, ‘Wholesale, and Retail Trade’ and ‘Manufacturing’ sectors show the greatest increase in firm creation in February 2021.
  • Compared to March 2019, in March 2021 there is more than a 300% increase in business creation for ‘Raising other animals’, ‘Wholesale of waste and scrap’, ‘Retail sale via mail order houses or via Internet’, ‘Agents involved in the sale of furniture, household goods, hardware and ironmongery' and ‘Renting and leasing of recreational and sports goods’.
  • The increasing business creation in food-related retail sales and wholesale sectors persists. There is more than a 200% increase in the sectors of ‘Wholesale of food, beverages and tobacco’, ‘Retail sale of bread, cakes, flour confectionery and sugar confectionery in specialised stores’ and ‘Manufacture of bakery and farinaceous products' in March 2021 to March 2019.
  • There are lower registrations relative to March 2019 in ‘Packaging activities’, ‘Warehousing and storage’, ‘Specialist medical practice activities’.