About the data
As is the case nationally, Somerset is a predominantly small business economy. In 2018, 99.8% of businesses in Somerset employed fewer than 250 employees, with 89.6% of those employing fewer than 10 people, 8.8% employing 10-49 people, and 1.4% employing 50-249 people. These figures are broadly in line with those seen nationally. The main difference is the marginally greater proportion of medium (50-249) and large (250+) businesses at the national level in comparison to Somerset.
At the lower-tier local authority level within Somerset the picture of a predominantly small business economy remains. However, in West Somerset, the county’s most rural and sparsely populated district, there is an even greater predominance of micro businesses employing fewer than 10 people (92%) and no large businesses at all employing over 250 people. Conversely, in Taunton Deane, where the largest conurbation and county town of Taunton is situated, there is a slightly smaller predominance of micro businesses (88.8%) and a greater proportion of large businesses (0.5%).
Again, as is the case nationally, Somerset is also a predominantly small business economy in turnover terms, with 73% of businesses having an annual turnover less than £200,000, and 86% having a turnover less than £500,000.
However, at 19.4%, Somerset does have a greater proportion of businesses in the smallest turnover size band (less than £50,000) than is the case regionally (17.8%) and nationally (16.3%). At this district level, West Somerset has the largest proportion (25.3%) of businesses in the smallest turnover size band, whilst Mendip has the smallest (17.6%).
Broadly speaking, Somerset has a similar proportion of businesses with annual turnovers between £50,000 and £1million than is the case nationally; roughly three quarters of all businesses in each case.
However, at turnovers exceeding £1million there is a more notable divergence between Somerset and the UK in relative terms, where nationally there is a greater proportion of businesses within the highest turnover bands.
Indeed, 7.5% of Somerset businesses have annual turnovers exceeding £1million compared to 9.2% for the UK, and 0.7% of Somerset businesses have turnovers more than £10million compared to 1.2% for the UK. Whilst these might not seem like big differences, we must bear in mind that there are a far fewer businesses within these higher turnover bands and that they typically make a disproportionate contribution to economic output.
Source: ONS, NOMIS, UK Business Counts 2018