According to Royal Mail, nearly 16,000 new e-commerce businesses were set up during lockdown. They were the largest single group, as a record 315,000 companies were set up between March and July this year. This is 7% more than in the same period last year.
E-commerce accounted for the largest single group. E-commerce was followed by businesses in the services sector, notably non-financial management consultancies (11,000) and the property sector. The Royal Mail suggests that the unique circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak saw small businesses and entrepreneurs adapt quickly. As a result of restricted shoppers turned online to buy. New business models that cater to growing home deliveries have also emerged.
Royal Mail saw parcel volumes rise by 34% during lockdown, while revenue rose by 33.1%. These growths were driven by e-commerce and direct-to-consumer sales. The company is now adding four new automated parcel sorting machines, capable of sorting up to 10,000 parcels an hour, to an existing 20 machines that will speed up processing in its mail centers. It has also introduced abut 1,400 new parcel postboxes.
Nick Landon, Chief Commercial Officer at Royal Mail, said: “It is very promising to see this level of new business creation. The narrative for businesses during and post lockdown is not one purely of survival, but also of resilience, resurgence, and growth. The e-commerce sector has seen huge growth this year and at Royal Mail we understand the importance of our parcel services in keeping the UK connected – particularly during such unprecedented times.”