Top 10 UK cities for owning & supporting independant businesses


Glasgow has been crowned as the UK’s most “independent” city, new research has revealed.

The research, conducted by business finance provider Liberis, looked into where the hotspots for independent retailers are, looking at the number of local businesses per capita in 20 major cities, as well discovering which demographics are most supportive towards small local businesses.

The study analysed the number of independents – focussing on SIC codes related to restaurants, pubs, newsagents, retail, etc, per city, combined with a penalty score for the number of big chains (coffee shops, restaurants, pubs and supermarkets) to determine the thriving locations when it came to independent retailers.

The top ten were revealed as:

  1. Glasgow
  2. Leicester
  3. Manchester
  4. Birmingham
  5. London
  6. Liverpool
  7. Norwich
  8. Nottingham
  9. Bristol
  10. Edinburgh

Overall, Glasgow took the top spot in the UK, whereas Leicester topped the list for England. When broken down into winners per category for independent sectors across the UK, the research also revealed the following:

Category SIC Code Top 3 Cities
Summary: Restaurants 56.1
  1. Manchester
  2. Glasgow
  3. Birmingham
Summary: Pubs 56.3
  1. Glasgow
  2. Manchester
  3. Liverpool
Summary: Newsagents / Off Licenses 47.11
  1. Glasgow
  2. Leicester
  3. Manchester
Summary: Food

(inc. grocery / takeaway / cafes)

  1. Manchester
  2. Glasgow
  3. Leicester
Summary: Retail 47.7
  1. Manchester
  2. Norwich
  3. Nottingham


Other findings suggested that:

  • In general, women more likely to shop at independents, whereas men are more likely to choose big chains
  • 25-34s are most likely to shop at independents (throughout the year and at Christmas), and those aged 65+ most likely to shop at big chains
  • Liverpool residents are most likely to shop at independents, and Bristolians are most likely to shop at big chains

Liberis CEO Rob Straathof said on the findings, “With more support needed for our local high street, this research helped crown Glasgow as the UK’s ‘Most “Independent” City’.

“It was interesting to see that N. England and Scotland made up the majority of the top ten. The younger generation came out as the most supportive consumers for small businesses, a promising sign for the future of our highstreets!

“With the right support and digital tools, we are confident that the number of UK independents will grow over time. As the new year has now begun, it’s a great time for shoppers to start shopping locally.”