Retail sector adds £650m to mum-economy, eBay reports


British mumpreneurs are an increasingly powerful economic group, adding billions to the UK economy and supporting thousands of jobs, new research from online marketplace eBay reveals.

Businesses set up and run by mums as sole-proprietors are flourishing, generating £7.2bn for the UK economy in 2014, and supporting 204,600 jobs last year alone. The retail sector which includes jobs in bricks and mortar shops, market stalls and specialist online retail contributes £650m to the economy each year.

These businesses range from micro-businesses run by mums at home while looking after young children, through to multi-million pound operations like Thingimijigs, which started with just an eBay account, £200 and a kitchen table and now sells branded gifts and accessories for kids globally from a purpose built facility in Lancashire.

The eBay commissioned study, conducted by independent economists Development Economics, also reveals that the value of the mum-economy is increasing each year, and is set to increase even further in the future:

  • The number of jobs supported by mum-run businesses has grown 23% since 2011
  • Their value to the economy has increased 30% over this period

By 2025, increased opportunity and flexibility for mums in business, will:

  • Add an extra £2bn to the economy, taking the annual mum-economy to £9.5bn
  • And support an extra 13,000 jobs, taking the total employed by mum-run businesses to 217,600

The most successful sectors for mum-run businesses are diverse, ranging from:

  • Health and care services eg care homes and medical practices run by mums – contributing £1.4bn to the economy each year
  • Professional, scientific & technical services eg legal services, management consultancy, advertising plus jobs that are involved in technical research and R&D – contributing £1.1bn to the economy each year
  • Arts, entertainment, recreation eg running museums and galleries, cinemas, entertainment venues, bingo halls- contributing £900m to the economy each year
  • Retail eg jobs in bricks and mortar shops, market stalls, online retail – contributing £650m to the economy each year


Sarah Calcott, eBay UK COO, said: “Improved connectivity and growing digital literacy is enabling ambitious, business-minded mums, to realise and pursue successful enterprises.

“These entrepreneurial businesswomen are building impressive companies, creating both wealth and jobs whilst also fulfilling one of the most demanding roles of all – being a mum.

“I’m enormously proud of the role that a marketplace like eBay is playing by providing the infrastructure and resources for mums to strike a successful and effective balance between business and family life.”

Steve Lucas from Development Economics said: ‘Businesses set up and run by mums as sole-proprietors generated £7.2bn for the UK economy in 2014, similar in value to economies like Armenia, Malta or Madagascar.

“These same businesses supported over 200,000 jobs last year, equivalent to the entire population of Portsmouth. Our research indicates that by 2025 the ‘mum-economy’ will add an extra £2 billion and 13,000 jobs to UK plc.”