Innovation and enterprise blog

24 November 2022

How to research your high street business

In 2021, the number of independent shops on Britain’s high streets increased for the first time in five years.

A net 2,157 new independent retail businesses opened across British towns and city centres over the year, according to the latest analysis by the Local Data Company (LDC). The pandemic has led to many chain retailers reducing their presence on the high street, creating opportunities for independent businesses to grow in the space left behind.

Why would LDC be relevant for me?

LDC uses a team of office and field researchers to collect data on every retail and leisure business in Britain, which is then interpreted by their analyst team to map trends across the retail industry. This insight is offered to commercial businesses of varying types and sizes, from large chain retailers to property consultancies.

Local Data Online can help you research and determine what start-up business you can plan for the regions in the UK, where there is a gap in the market, or where you should be looking to have a bricks and mortar presence. For example, the following analysis gives you real data on the coffee shops on the high street in London. This gives you information on where your competition, and opportunities may be - and shows the demand for coffee shops and coffee.

Coffee shops across Greater London

Source: Local Data Online

You can use Local Data Online to find out about locations, business types and companies all over the country. It has a searchable, interactive map tool which lets you select a specific area and explore the types of businesses currently in operation, both chain and local. The map also shows the addresses of available vacant units in the area.

Local data map

Easy-to-read diagrams show extra information including vacancy rates, the mix of chain vs. independent shops, local demographics and average earnings in a specific area.

Where can I access LDC?

You can find LDC’s Local Data Online (LDO) software, an interactive insights database of the retail and leisure market, including key metrics for areas such as retail mix, vacancy rate and demographic data, for free in the following BIPCs:

  • British Library
  • Birmingham
  • Bristol
  • Cumbria
  • Devon
  • Glasgow
  • Greater Manchester
  • Kent
  • Humber Partnership
  • Leeds City Region
  • Liverpool City Region
  • Northamptonshire
  • Norfolk
  • Nottinghamshire
  • South Yorkshire
  • Sussex
  • Tees Valley
  • Worcestershire

You will need a free Reader Pass to access the reports in the British Library, or your library card for any library outside of London. You can learn more about the database on their website.

If you want to learn more about the retail and leisure landscape in your area, including current occupiers and vacancies, come along to your nearest BIPC which has access and speak to our friendly teams. We can show you how to use LDO to benefit your business, all for free.