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The rise and fall: Britain’s ten booming and ten blundering business sectors

It appears that change will be the fuel for the UK’s future economic growth as a study has revealed Britain’s top ten thriving industries and top ten failing industries, which has seen a new sector come out on top ahead of traditional markets.
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The report from O2 Business and the Centre of Economic and Business Research (Cebr) has found that the sharing economy tops the list of the ten growth sectors, highlighting rental and leasing of cars and intellectual property (IP).

Of course, the sharing economy has been a huge area of focus in Britain and was championed by business secretary Sajid Javid at the start of this year. His backing took place at the launch of Airbnb’s new UK office, where it was revealed the company had topped four million users nationwide.

Javid said: “It’s good to be here when you mark your four millionth guest. I think it’s more remarkable when you consider you’re the largest provider of short-term accommodation in the UK.

“If you think about Uber, it’s the largest provider of taxi rides in the UK and they don’t own a single vehicle. Order food from Deliveroo and they don’t own a single kitchen. That’s what we mean by the sharing economy – those things come together to deliver more choice, more competition and help put more money in people’s pockets.”

The top three of growth industries was rounded off by professional, scientific and technical activities in second place, followed by management consultancy in third.

The beverage sector is also in the top ten. Indeed, we’ve seen how prolific the craft beer space has become with the likes of the Camden Town Brewery achieving an exit through sale to AB Inbev, while alcohol tax revenues have topped £10bn.

Overall industry growth in the UK achieved a 1.6 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the last five years, the study found, while there was a 4.6 per cent rise of startups across the country in 2015.

Britain’s top ten growth industries are:

(1) Rental and leasing activities

Sub-sectors include: Rental and leasing of cars and other vehicles, rental and leasing of IP

(2) Other professional, scientific and technical activities

Sub-sectors include: Environmental consulting activities, specialised design activities

(3) Activities of head offices: management consultancy activities

Sub-sectors include: Public relations and communications, financial management

(4) Architectural and engineering activities

Sub-sectors include: Technical testing and analysis, engineering design

(5) Office administrative: office support and other business support activities

Sub-sectors: Call centres, document preparation services

(6) Publishing

Sub-sectors: Video games, software, books

(7) Computer manufacturing

Sub-sectors: Manufacture of electrical components

(8) Computer programming and consultancy

Sub-sectors: Business and software development, IT consultations

(9) Beverage manufacturing

Sub-sectors: Distilling and blending of spirits, beer brewing

(10) Scientific research and development

Sub-sectors: Biotechnology, natural sciences and engineering

“At Underthedoormat, we manage homes with personality and character when the homeowner is away, helping them earn extra income from their most important asset. We work with business travellers and tourists from around the world, providing a local experience when they visit London,” said Merilee Karr, CEO and founder of Underthedoormat.com.

“The findings of the recent Cebr research show that the sharing economy is booming. As a team we value the right tools and technology to stay flexible in managing the changing seasonality in demand alongside our rapid growth as a company.” 

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Ben Dowd, O2 Business director, said: “It’s encouraging to see the variety of growth industries in the UK, suggesting renewed economic confidence and a vibrant startup scene.”

Elsewhere, the report found that the entertainment industry tops the list for industries experiencing decline, with film production and TV programmes among the sub sectors. This is said to be a result of pressure from competing US firms.

Manufacturers were also found the second most “at risk” sector, followed by postal services in third. Retail is also a market in decline, which supports February research from the British Retail Consortium that found 900,000 jobs in the industry will be cut across the country by 2025.

Britain’s top ten declining industries are:

(1) Motion picture, video and television programme production, sound recording and music publishing

(2) Other manufacturing

Sub-sectors: Sports equipment, medical instruments

(3) Postal and courier activities

Sub-sectors: Postal activities under universal service obligation, licensed carrier

(4) Water transport

Sub-sectors: Inland freight water transport, sea and coastal passenger support

(5) Manufacture of wood products, excluding furniture

Sub-sectors: Wooden containers, builders’ carpentry and joinery

(6) Retail, excluding motor vehicles

Sub-sectors: Books, games and music

(7) Manufacture of chemical products

Sub-sectors: Fertilisers and plastics

(8) Manufacture of basic metals

Sub-sectors: Copper and aluminium

(9) Printing media

Sub-sectors: Printing of newspapers, binding services

(10) Programming and broadcasting

Sub-sectors: Radio

Dowd added: “As the Business Essentials report shows, increased innovation and competition can result in some sectors struggling to cope with the pace of change.”

As inspiration to succeed and defeat failure, check out the UK’s ten wealthiest business moguls as revealed on the Forbes billionaires list 2016.

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About Author

Zen Terrelonge

Zen Terrelonge is the deputy editor of Real Business, specialising in media, innovation, technology and the digital sector. A media professional with eight years worth of experience he has worked for both startup and established publications.

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