Almost a third of new businesses launched in the UK over the next two years will start life as a pop-up shop, a new study has claimed.
In a poll of 2,000 consumers by EE, the telecoms company, of the 29pc that were planning to start a businesses within the next two years, 29pc will do so by launching a pop-up store to test out the market and hone their product offering.
A pop-up is defined as anything from a burger van to a market stall that serves as a temporary retail outlet. If these data are extrapolated across the UK, there will be 11.6m start-up entrepreneurs creating 3.4m pop-up shops by 2017.
According to the survey, 30pc of would-be entrepreneurs are seeking to launch a pop-up selling food, reflecting the growing trend towards street food. Some 18pc will offer drinks such as cocktails or coffee, 15pc will sell arts and crafts, 12pc are fashion brands, while 11pc will offer jewellery or accessories, such as handbags.
Many successful retail brands started out as pop-ups. Richard Reed, co-founder of Innocent Drinks, launched his smoothie company at a music festival, where customers were asked to throw their empty drinks bottles into bins marked Yes or No, based on whether they thought the founders should quit their jobs and launch the business.
UK burger chain Meatliquor was started from a burger van and is now valued at £20m.
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“Pop-ups have become a tried and tested business strategy,” said EE’s director of small business, Mike Tomlinson.
In a bid to find the next generation of pop-up superstars, EE and Appear Here, an online marketplace for short-term retail space, have launched a competition called Space For Ideas, which is open to London-based entrepreneurs.
Winners will receive two weeks’ worth of prime retail space in London as well as tablets, smartphones, and mobile payments devices to help run the business, and £3,000 cash to fit out the pop-up.
The competition will be judged by a panel of retail experts including Julie Deane, founder of the Cambridge Satchel Company and Cerviche restaurateur Martin Morales.