COVID-19 SERVICE: We are heightening our efforts to assist the UK retail & leisure industry through this challenging period. Explore this service now… COVID-19 SERVICE

How the Takeaway Sector benefits the UK Labour Market and Economy

Full report: The Contribution of the Takeaway Market to the UK Economy

How the Takeaway Sector benefits the UK Labour Market and Economy

What does the UK takeaway sector contribute to the overall UK economy?

Rapid growth in the takeaway sector has made it an important part of the UK economy, supporting approximately 286,800 jobs in 2018, an increase of almost 13,000 jobs since 2015. As such, it employs more than the Telecoms, Advertising and Insurance sectors. 

Interestingly, small businesses make up the majority of the takeaway sector, and are growing so rapidly, that 30% of takeaways now employ more than ten people. The sector now acts as a gateway employer for many, offering first-time employment, training and a rewarding career path for entrepreneurs. 

What’s more, the creation of jobs covers the entire UK. Yorkshire and The Humber has seen the largest increase in the creation of jobs since 2015, followed closely by the East and West Midlands and the North East. Nearly 286,800 people worked in the takeaway sector in 2018 and the value of the industry is clear to see. 

The sector is estimated to have created £5.9 billion additional value in 2018, which equals 12% of the overall contribution made by the food services industry, which includes restaurants, cafés, pubs, bars and events.

£12.5 billion was spent on takeaways in 2018

1. New retail business models

A new era of retail requires new business models. Subscription services and secondary markets have been quick to react, filling new spaces in the market with intelligent solutions. The music and entertainment sector is a standout example, evidenced by streaming services such as Netflix, Spotify, Amazon Music and others. 

Such models will no doubt proliferate to other sectors, and with AI advances, it will be the imagination that limits creativity, slickness and ingenuity of the adaptive business models of the future.

For now, traditional retail business models will be pushed to the limit as new models emerge and are rapidly adopted by consumers. Rental markets, curated subscription models, the service economy, auto-replenishment and smart re-ordering have the potential to alter the retail norms of today, which will be powered by online interfaces, propelling online spend to new heights.

Ultimately, retailers will be focusing on how to merge transformative models with existing business models to better serve their customers. Naturally, the composition of boardrooms will adapt to reflect the changing nature of the retail sector. 

“Online will account for more than 50% of all retail sales by 2028”

View the full report here

This work forms part of a wider piece of research and is a downloadable in pdf format


2. The rise of AI

AI application will touch every link of the retail value chain, transforming the customer journey with innovations like auto-replenishment models, automated river vehicles, personalisation at scale and virtual stores. 

Moreover, intelligent data mining, innovative transformation strategies and trustworthiness will be prerequisites for sustained business in an increasingly transparent trading environment characterised by shifting power dynamics. 

Figure 15: Key enablers for full readiness


Dissolving multi-channel marketing paradigms will be replaced by a single, cross-platform, omnichannel experience. Blurring the lines between in-store, online and on-the-go will, in some cases, mean stepping into a physical store that feels like a tangible extension of its online counterpart. 

Whether AI is being used to identify a more efficient delivery route or accurately predict a customer’s pregnancy status, the dreamy realms of science fiction are becoming reality. Many of the technological foundation stones have already been laid and developments are unfolding at an unprecedented pace.


3. Managing risk

Retailers are eagerly adopting new technologies to leverage new opportunities. However, new risks are  merging. Consumers are increasingly conscious of the need to protect personal data and their privacy in  order to reduce the risk of fraud, identity theft and misuse of their data. They also expect companies to be transparent about the data they hold on them, what they use it for and how it is protected.

We found that over a quarter of respondents surveyed have taken some action to limit the amount of data shared  with companies, reaching almost a third for 16-24 year olds. Also consumers also felt that the perceived benefit from the exchange of their personal data was not equitable. Two thirds of consumers  think that businesses benefited more than consumers. Just 8% of respondents thought that consumers  benefited the most with 26% saying that there was an equal exchange of value.

The biggest risk we foresee regarding future online growth are consumer attitudes towards sharing  personal data and the perception of retailers’ responsible use and protection of that data. 

Figure 17. In your opinion, who currently benefits the most from personal data exchange?


Past and present factors in the lead up to online prominence

Relatively speaking, the rise of online retail has been fairly swift, especially within the last decade. The retail customer journey has been reshaped beyond recognition and technology, as already mentioned, has facilitated much of this growth, but how did things evolve?

Things to do now

Download the full report here

Found this short article interesting?

This article forms part of a research report conducted by Retail Economics and Just Eat.  It provides a snapshot of the valuable economic, social and cultural contribution made by the takeaway sector to the UK. It examines the entrepreneurial opportunity the sector presents, the huge steps takeaway restaurants have taken to respond to changing consumer appetites and the challenges posed by government regulation, which threatens to stifle a vibrant sector. The research was taken from a survey of 300 takeaway owners from across the UK (by Retail Economics and Prevision). Interviews took place between 10th July to the 24th July 2019. Data was also supplied by Just Eat.

View Full Report Here

Discover what we can do for you

Our analysis and insights help organisations with strategic planning and more. Find out how we can help you…


Other retail insights

UK takeaway sector growth - Retail Economics Article

Consumer trends in the UK Takeaway Sector

Discover how various trends are affecting the UK takeaway sector and what factors are shaping the trajectory of growth.
Shopper missions vs online delivery Article

Delivering Satisfaction: How Shopper Missions Shape E-Commerce Delivery Priorities

Discover the different types of online shopper, how their priorities affect delivery options and how to accommodate them
Sustainability in Consumer-Facing Industries Article

Sustainable Practices in Consumer-Facing Industries: Driving Change and Navigating Challenges

Discover opportunities for consumer facing industries to adopt sustainable practices to meet consumer expectations
Consumer loyalty is changing in retail, strategies to adapt and keep consumers loyal Article

The Changing Landscape of Consumer Loyalty in Retail

Discover how consumer loyalty is changing in the retail sector, with data on affluence, age & more.