The latest State of Industry survey offers a positive perspective, despite the challenging economic crisis

Salon interior

The results of the latest NHBF State of Industry survey, which quizzed UK hair and beauty salons and barbershops, demonstrates a return by the industry to a positivity that we previously saw in spring and summer last year.

Despite the current economic crisis and rising inflation rates, 43 per cent of businesses report making a small or good profit, with 38 per cent breaking even, and fewer businesses (19 per cent) making a small or substantial loss. This is also reflected in improved business survival expectations, which are in line with the more positive outlook seen last summer. Two thirds of businesses are now confident of their survival, compared to 49 per cent in January of this year. However, it is important to highlight that a third of businesses still remain unsure as to if they will survive over the next six months until September 2023.

41 per cent of those surveyed also expressed intentions to grow their business either rapidly or moderately, which is up from 30 per cent in January. Similar numbers of businesses intend to remain the same size (41 per cent) and 19 per cent are planning to downsize or handover the business, which has decreased from 25 per cent at the start of 2023.

Rising costs

For 80 per cent, energy costs remain a top concern, especially in terms of impact of the business. The NHBF has already presented the detail of these findings to Ofgem the regulator to feed into their review of the non-domestic energy market and report to government in the summer.

The increased cost of trade supplies and increases to National Minimum Wage/National Living Wage (NMW/NLW) are two other major concerns for business owners. Those surveyed have said they are removing non-essential expenditure, increasing prices and continuing to hold off taking on staff/apprentices.

Despite the rising costs, reliance on external support has eased back to levels seen in spring/summer 2023; now only over half of businesses (58 per cent) are either partially or completely reliant on Government support. This is down from 71 per cent in January.

New hires and apprenticeships

23 per cent have cut back on apprentices and similar to the autumn, only 15 per cent were definitely or likely to take on apprentices in the next three months. However, 21 per cent said they were definitely or likely to take on new staff in the next three months, up from 15 per cent in January.

Speaking on the latest survey results, Richard Lambert, chief executive of the NHBF says:  “Overall, this latest NHBF State of the Industry survey is showing a more positive feeling in general and improvement for most of the industry.

Hopefully, the announcement of a rise in funding for the apprenticeship standards will encourage more employers to change their mind about recruiting junior staff, and we will start to see more young people come into the industry – plus this will help businesses to grow.”