UK B2B Economic Outlook – Spring 2023
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“Although the UK avoided recession at the end of 2022, growth is likely to be constrained by persistently high inflation and the cost of living crisis. The recent fall in…

UK B2B Economic Outlook – Spring 2023

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“Although the UK avoided recession at the end of 2022, growth is likely to be constrained by persistently high inflation and the cost of living crisis. The recent fall in wholesale gas prices should start to reduce bills by the end of H1 and this will somewhat improve the financial situation of businesses and consumers alike.”

– Lewis Cone, Associate Director – B2B

This report looks at the following areas:

  • Economic Overview
  • Business Health
  • Special Focus: B2B Finance
  • What’s Next?

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Economic overview
    • Business health
    • Special focus: B2B finance
    • What’s next?
  2. Economic Overview

    • GDP growth remains sluggish but avoids recession
      • Figure 1: Quarter-on-Quarter GDP growth rate, Q3 2021 – Q4 2022, (% change)
    • Bank rate rises for the eighth time in 12 months as inflation remains high
      • Figure 2: Bank Rate, by date of adjustment, 2008-23
    • CPI 12-month rate remained above 10% in January but there are signs that the rate is slowing…
      • Figure 3: Consumer Price Index, January 2022-23, (12-month rate, %)
    • …whilst growth in real earnings declines
      • Figure 4: Real average weekly earnings, total pay, January-December 2022, (% monthly change year-on-year, seasonally adjusted)
  3. Business Health

    • Almost a third of businesses reported a fall in turnover compared with the end of 2022
      • Figure 5: UK business turnover, at the start of 2022, by business sector, (£ million and % annual change)
      • Figure 6: Finance performance of UK businesses, March vs June vs September vs December 2022, (% of respondents)
    • Company insolvencies rise as debt repayments grow alongside increasing cost burden
      • Figure 7: Underlying company insolvencies in England and Wales, Q1 2021 – Q4 2022, (units, seasonally adjusted)
    • Private sector profitability stabilises but business investment weakens
      • Figure 8: UK PNFCs net rate of return, Q1 2020 – Q1 2022, (% return)
      • Figure 9: UK total business investment, Q4 2020 – Q4 2022, (chained volume measures and seasonally-adjusted, £ million)
  4. Special Focus: B2B Finance

    • Net lending remained positive in 2022 and surpassed levels seen in 2021
      • Figure 10: UK MFIs’ net loans to non-financial businesses, Q1 2021 – Q4 2022, by size of business, (£ million, not seasonally adjusted)
    • Credit availability and demand fell for SMEs but was more positive for large businesses in 2022
      • Figure 11: Availability of corporate credit to PNFCs in the past three months, Q4 2020 – Q4 2022, by business size, (net percentage balance)
      • Figure 12: Demand for corporate credit by PNFCs in the past three months, Q4 2020 – Q4 2022, by business size, (net percentage balance)
    • Write-offs on loans to PNFCs fell in 2022
      • Figure 13: Write offs of loans to PNFCs from banks and building societies, Q3 2020 – Q4 2022, (£ million, not seasonally adjusted)
  5. What’s Next?

    • Business confidence remains negative as economic uncertainty looms
      • Figure 14: Business confidence index, Q3 2021 – Q4 2022, (index figure)
    • General consensus implies UK will avoid recession but a decline in growth is expected in 2023
    • Purchasing Managers’ Index Surveys
    • Energy cost support package to change from April for businesses…
    • … although ‘surprise’ windfall in public finances could offer some Budget financial wriggle room
  6. Appendix – Abbreviations

    • Abbreviations

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


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Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our databooks* are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

*databooks not available with UK B2B Industry reports.

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