Business development · 20 August 2015

Florists, antique dealers and spas among small businesses boosted by consumer confidence

Florists have seen their sales increase by 11 per cent this year
Florists have seen their sales increase by 11 per cent this year

Luxury small businesses are among those benefitting from consumer confidence in the UK economy, with private catering firms and spas experiencing an increase in business compared to this time last year.

New research from payment processing company Worldpay has found that antiques dealers, florists and beauty spas are among those enjoying more sales.

Worldpay’s analysis of card transactions over the past year showed a 12 per cent increase in spending on private catering firms, saying Britons were looking to splurge more on celebrations than in recent years. Similarly, bands, orchestras and entertainers were given a boost, with takings rising by 38 per cent – while more orders for floral arrangements contributed to an 11 per cent increase in florists’ sales.

The research also indicated dry cleaners were benefitting – Worldpay suggested the seven per cent rise in business was partly due to people holding and attending more events this year.

James Frost, CMO of Worldpay UK, said: “Any rise in non-essential spending is great news for small business owners. But while consumers may well be relaxing their grip on the purse strings, business owners must think strategically about how to differentiate themselves in what remains a highly competitive market.”

Elsewhere, the beauty industry was continuing to grow, as health and beauty spas saw an increase of seven per cent in sales, while barbers had six per cent more business than 12 months ago.

The beauty industry employs more than one million people and is worth over £17bn – projected to grow 16 per cent by 2016. Even with the recession, retail sales in the UK beauty market grew 15.5 per cent to £7.1bn in 2013 from £6.1bn in 2008, so the renewed financial confidence among consumers is credited with giving the industry another boost.

It’s not isolated to the UK either as exports for cosmetic products grow around five per cent each year. Mintel’s director of global insight and innovation, beauty and personal care, Vivienne Rudd, had said that women “were trying to make themselves look and feel better while trying to hold onto their job or find a new one”.

Antique dealers and private galleries were also among small businesses with rising sales
Antique dealers and private galleries were also among small businesses with rising sales

There was also an opportunity for small business to thrive as the founder of Elemental Herbology found after setting up the skincare brand in 2008. Kristy Cimesa said she succeeded as “we were at a reasonable price point and have grown each year 20 to 30 per cent”.

Worldpay also suggested antique shops were benefitting from the increase in spending across the UK, with sales increasing five per cent. Meanwhile, art dealers and private galleries’ sales went up seven per cent.

Frost did though, warn that owners of micro firms need to think in terms of convenience to secure future success. “Today’s discerning customers want freedom and flexibility to pay in the way that they choose. Cash-only businesses will see opportunities becoming more limited by the day.”

A recent report from Cebr and EE looking at the expanding pop-up sector agreed – saying that 40 per cent of small retailers were unable to process card payments and a quarter had lost business because of it.

Image: Shutterstock

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Rebecca is a reporter for Business Advice. Prior to this, she worked with a range of tech, advertising, media and digital clients at Propeller PR and did freelance work for The Telegraph.

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