Business Research Report provided by Purple

Business Research Report provided by Purple

Purple Market Research has recently published a summary of useful information concerning the impact of Covid-19 on UK Business. Unfortunately their good news is not as good as one would wish because they have referred to information published by the Office of National Statistics from their recent Business Impact of Covid Survey (BICS). In particular they repeat the claim that 76% of all businesses are currently operating. That figure is very far from the truth for the following reasons:

  • It is solely based upon the 35% of businesses that responded to the ONS survey. It is highly likely that the majority of those 65% of companies not responding to the survey would also not be trading. Bearing in mind the fact that the ONS is used to a response of over 70% from their business samples and that the BICS sample is selected from respondents to previous surveys.
  • Moreover their sample is heavily biased towards larger businesses and therefore they failed to sample the many thousands of small shopkeepers, cafe owners, guest houses, pubs, travel companies, marketing agencies and others that have had to close until further notice.

The details of the original sample and the response by size of business are as follows:

Table 1

Employee Size Group 0 to 99 100 to 249 250+ Total
Total Businesses * 2,692,890 15,060 10,480 2,718,430
Sample issued** 1,326 9,116 7,181 17,623
% Sample to Universe 0.05% 60.53% 68.52% 0.65%
Sample Returned 357 3,452 2,305 6,114
Response Rate 26.9% 37.9% 32.1% 34.7%

*The numbers of all businesses by employee size are from ukbusinessworkbook2019xls as provided by the ONS from analysis of the IDBR.

**The remainder of the numbers in the table are provided from bicswave032.xls, also provided by the ONS.

Evidently the BICS sample is not drawn to represent all those businesses covered by the IDBR, but precise details of the intended coverage have not been disclosed by the ONS. Also, of course they have not sought to represent those businesses operated by self-employed sole traders with a turnover of less than £85,000.

The numbers of businesses with less than 100 employees included in the BICS sample also influences the distribution of the sample by activity compared with the IDBR data, but we are unable to identify the details. We at UKPLC have requested further information on this issue but, presently, it appears the design of the BICS sample is such as to represent all larger businesses whatever their activity.To read the report from Purple Market Research please click here.

Comments provided by Tony Dent, UKPLC