Small business capital expenditure up 32% year-on-year

A sure-fire sign that small businesses are seeing an upturn in fortunes is that they are splashing the cash again.

Exclusive figures received by Jelf Small Business from the Office for National Statistics' Business Investment, Q1 2014 Provisional Results show that small businesses with between 20 and 49 employees spent £3.46 billion in the first quarter of 2014 - up almost 32% from the first quarter of 2013.

While unfortunately the ONS doesn't receive data relating to the capital expenditure of small businesses with between one and 19 employees, it does give a good indicator of the upturn in fortunes of the small business sector as a whole, especially when compared to larger companies. By comparison, over the same period, capital expenditure for those with 100 to 299 employees rose by just 3.4%.

You can see the full table below:

  Total Capital Expenditure by employment size band (£ thousand)
  0-19 employees

20-49 employees

% change YoY
300+ employees
% change YoY
2012 Q1 0 3,414,444 - 17,060,872 -
2012 Q2 0 3,303,478 - 16,159,393 -
2012 Q3 0 3,220,411 - 17,624,947 -
2012 Q4 0 3,265,350 - 19,616,252 -
2013 Q1 0 2,623,808 -23.16 18,043,082 5.76
2013 Q2 0 2,900,325 -12.2 17,000,044 5.2
2013 Q3 0 3,190,092 -0.94 18,954,039 7.54
2013 Q4 0 3,101,372 -5.02 20,244,905 3.2
2014 Q1 0 3,461,719 31.93 19,814,988 9.82

Data courtesy of Office For National Statistics "Quarterly capital expenditure and survey populations by employment size bands", published ad hoc for Jelf Small Business based on the Business Investment, Q1 2014 Provisional Results (released 22-May-2014)

We also received a further breakdown of the data above that related to the split in capital expenditure between those companies in the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors. From this data, it would seem that over the past year confidence in the small business manufacturing sector has soared, with expenditure up by nearly 76% to just over £44 million.

We think these figures are an incredibly good sign for UK small businesses. After the obvious recession-based dip, it seems that small businesses are slowly but surely getting back on their feet, and are now in a position to invest in infrastructure and grow in a way that they haven't been able to for some time. Long may it continue.

Has your small business made any large-scale investments recently? We'd love to hear what you've been up to.