Our new research has found that beards and brows remain big business on UK high streets. The last year has seen twelve independent personal grooming salons open a week (626 new units in total), indicating that brows and beard styles – such as the extended goatee, chin curtain and soul patch – continue to drive consumer spending.
The study, which was undertaken by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr), also found that the typical high street now contains an average of 11 independent cafes, seven independent barbers, four independent beauty salons and one independent vape shop. Independent retailers account for two thirds (62 per cent) of stores on the high street.
|Increasing independent retailers:
||Net increase in 2015 (no. of units)
||Net change %
|Personal grooming(Barbers & beauty salons)
|Café & tearoom
|Restaurant and bar
Trevor Studd from The British Barbers Association, said: “The rise in personal grooming does not come as a surprise at all – some high streets have ten or more barbershops and men’s grooming operations now. There has definitely been a growing migration of men going back to barbershops from unisex salons in the past three to four years and this doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
“Like any industry that has a renewed spike in numbers, supply will grow to meet demand. However in such a personal industry, skill, and the level of service offered will determine how many of those shops will still be open in two years’ time.”
Jo Goodman, Director of Sales and Marketing at Habia (Hair and Beauty Industry Authority), adds: “The UK beauty industry is big business, employing more than a million people and contributing billions of pounds to the economy.
“SME salons contribute heavily to this success, from high-end luxury services to hair salons and budget nail bars, with the number of new salons/businesses growing by 5.95% over the past year. The prevalence of social media has been particularly influential in fuelling this growth, with high-profile celebrity trendsetters – both male and female – helping to drive demand.”
Driven by the continued growth in the popularity of coffee and consumers embracing new trends such as cold brew coffee, independent cafes have also surged in numbers. Independent cafes and tearooms have recorded a net increase of 337 units over the last year, with six additional cafes joining the UK retail landscape each week in 2015.
The most surprising resurgence has come from independent tobacconists, who were spurred on by the recent boom in vaping. Independent vape shops accounted for 334 new independent stores in 2015, an increase of more than 50 per cent.
Steve Rooney, Head of Royal Mail’s Address Management Unit, which manages the Postcode Address File, adds: “The analysis reveals a trend I’m sure shoppers will recognise from their own high street: independent retail is booming. This is great news for communities, as both businesses and consumers benefit when independent retail is growing. From beard grooming to vape shops, the types of businesses going from strength to strength show that entrepreneurs can move fast when it comes to spotting and responding to emerging consumer trends.
“The UK’s retail landscape changes on a daily basis, whether it’s a shop changing its name or moving premises. We make between four and five thousand updates to the Postcode Address File every day to ensure that consumers and businesses can not only locate services but also effect and enjoy online delivery.”