Report February 2021

In a nutshell

We analyse Companies House “basic company data” up to the January 31st, 2021.


  1. Business creation increased 8.93% from December 2020 to January 2021.
  2. Business creation was 13.46% higher in January 2021 compared to January 2020.
  3. There is more firm creation in nearly every sector of the economy in January 2021 compared to January 2020 or 2019. The one exception is Accommodation and Food.

Aggregate Analysis


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

  • Business creation increased 8.93% from December 2020 to January 2021.
  • 19,512 additional companies were registered in January 2021 relative to January 2019.
  • Business creation increased 13.46% between January 2020 and January 2021.
  • The median daily registrations during lockdown-III is 23% higher than during lockdown-I and 4% lower than during lockdown-II.


Company registrations persistently exceed their 2019 levels. Extensive business activity is observed during the first 2 weeks of January 2021. This might be a persistent trend originating from the last week of December 2020 (see EU-UK TCA outliers). Week 3 onwards, companies registration ratio narrows the gap of 2021/2019 against 2020/2019 over the same weeks. We note the calculations for week 5 2021 contain only two days.


Company registrations in January 2021 are 31% higher than January 2020 and 48% higher than January 2019.

Regional Analysis

Postcode Area

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


The following graph aggregates business creation by country. We separate London from England. In January 2021, firm creation remains higher in all regions than it was in 2019. All countries have extremely high firm creation in the first week of the year; the gap narrows from the second week onwards.


London dominates firm creation. The majority of the early-year business creation comes from Central and East London.

Sectoral Analysis

SIC Sections

The graph illustrates company registrations in January 2021, January 2020 and January 2019 by industrial sector. We use 2-digit SIC levels (ONS “divisions”) and group into broader sectors (ONS “sections”). We use the ONS classification. We present a selection of notable sectors.

  • January 2021 has higher firm creation in all sectors than January 2019.
  • January 2021 has similar firm creation to January 2020 in most sectors.
  • ‘Manufacturing’, ‘Financial and Insurance Activities’, ‘Wholesale, and Retail Trade’ sectors show the greatest increase in firm creation.
  • ‘Accommodation and Food Services’ is the only sector with fewer registrations in January 2021 than January 2020.