last one standing

The Business Sectors That Have the Best Survival Rates

Most businesses will fail before the end of their 5th year. Scary statistic. But we do see variations from sector to sector and geographically too. DeVono Cressa analysed some of the statistics.

Start up survival rates in the UK don’t always make for particularly pleasant reading. Although most will survive the first year, five year survival rates show less than half of start ups will make it.


But it’s not the same picture for all types of businesses. Some companies have a better outlook than others. Some areas of the country perform better too. But one of the biggest things that influences the numbers is the sector in which the business is in.


Experts at DeVono Cresa analysed ONS data alongside their own internal data to establish what the stats have to say about the chances of survival in various sectors.


Here are some of the headlines they found when they analysed, using 2017 data, the number of companies founded in 2012 that were still going:




Sector% of 2012 Founded Businesses Still Operating in 2017
Average of all43.20%
Information and Communication47.00%
Professional Scientificic and Technical46.90%
Finance and Insurance43.10%
Business, Administration and Support Services37.70%

Location, Location

There are also geographic variations in terms of the businesses likeliest to survive beyond those first few years.


London, unsurprisingly, is still attracting more new companies than anywhere else in the UK. And in terms of locations in the UK where businesses have the highest five year survival rates:

  • South West: Over 20,000 new businesses were started in the South West in 2012 and 46% of them made it to five years
  • Businesses started in Scotland in 2012 had a 43.7% five year survival, just over the national average
  • In Wales, the five year survival for 2012 businesses was 44%
  • In Northern Ireland this figure was 44.7%

Gemma Foord, Head of Flexible Leasing for DeVono Cresa, said: “Since 2012, there’s been a real growth in new innovative and creative businesses, particularly those that are part of the gig economy with start-ups from technology, media and communications firms.”

“Our research was prompted by trends we have seen in the market since 2012, especially with the rise in technology firms opting for flexible workspaces. These growing businesses have been favouring shorter terms over traditional leases, giving them the ability to scale up and down as and when required, access skillsets from designers to facilities professionals and creating a workplace that can attract and retain talent. These young and agile companies want fast entry into fully fitted, well designed offices with flexibility.”

So, if you’re starting up in 2020, should you avoid traditional sectors?

No! Absolutely not. Don’t make this data the only thing you consider. For any business starting up in 2020, there are a host of other factors that will make up a part of your research and planning. And there’s nothing stopping people from being innovative within more traditional industries.



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