South East Crowned the UK's Hair & Beauty Capital hair getting washed in salon

South East crowned the UK's hair and beauty capital

  • Analysis reveals that nearly a third of the UK's hair and beauty businesses operate in the South East
  • Industry employs around 270,000 people across the UK
  • Value of UK hair and beauty industry grew by 13% between 2011 and 2016

London, 23 March 2017: New research1 by small business insurer Direct Line for Business reveals that nearly one in three hair beauty and nail businesses operate in the South East of England.

The analysis, which looked at the number of beauty salons, hairdressers and nail technicians across the UK, showed that there are nearly 29,000 of these businesses based in the South East. This dwarfs the next closest region, the North West, which has around 11,000 hair and beauty businesses.

This gives the South East the highest density of hair and beauty businesses, with around one salon for every 252 adults in the region2. Furthermore, the hair, nail and beauty industry makes up over three per cent of all SMEs in the region.

The research also shows that the industry has been booming in recent years, with its turnover growing from £6.2 billion in 2011 to almost £7 billion in 2016, an increase of £800 million, or 13 per cent3. This growth has been boosted by the unprecedented rise of hair salons and nail bars on the UK's high streets, with 25,000 more people employed in the industry last year than the five years before that.

Jane Guaschi, Business Manager at Direct Line for Business, said: “The beauty industry has been greatly boosted by rise of social media celebrities such as Zoella and Kylie Jenner. Coupled with this, the looks being popularised by the cast of TOWIE have increased the demand for treatments in recent years. On the high street we've seen an explosion in growth with new nail salons and hairdressers opening across the UK to cater for the increased demand.”

“With so many hair, nail and beauty businesses popping up across the nation, owners should ensure that they have the right insurance to cover them as they grow.”

Table One: number and proportion of hair and beauty businesses in the UK, 2016

Region Number of hair and beauty businesses Hair and beauty businesses' share of the region's SMEs Number of UK adults per hair and beauty company
South East 28,797 3.2% 252
North West 10,868 2.1% 536
South West 7,911 1.5% 571
Yorkshire and The Humber 7,867 2.0% 556
Scotland 7,602 2.3% 587
London 6,828 0.7% 1,012
East Midlands 6,488 1.8% 588
West Midlands 4,853 1.2% 954
Wales 4,196 1.9% 606
North East 3,703 2.5% 583
East Anglia 3,472 0.6% 1,417
Northern Ireland 2,912 2.4% 504
UK total 95,497 1.7% 553

Source: Direct Line for Business, 2017

For further details on Direct Line for Business' Hair, Nail and Beauty Insurance please visit:

Notes to editors

1 Search conducted by Direct Line for Business on in November 2016. Business population data collected for the following professions on a regional basis:

  • Beauty salons and consultants
  • Hairdressers
  • Mobile hairdressers
  • Nail technicians
  • Mobile nail technicians

2 UK SME and adult population figures courtesy of the Office for National Statistics' Business population estimates 2016, published on 13th October 2016.

3 2011 hair and beauty industry overview from the Hair and Beauty Industry Authority (Habia). 2016 figures courtesy of Industry Statistics for Hairdressing, Barbering and Beauty 2016, published by the National Hairdressers' Federation on 11th January 2016.

For further information please contact:

Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Antonia Green
Tel: 020 7282 2967

Direct Line for Business
Jade Trimbee
PR Manager
Tel: 01372 839 452
Mobile: 07825 315 931

Direct Line for Business

Launched in 2007 Direct Line for Business provides a range of insurance products for the small business sector direct by phone or online.

Direct Line for Business insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line for Business and U K Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line for Business products or get a quote by calling 0345 301 4827 or visiting

Small Business Insurance Press Release

Last Updated: 23 Mar 2017