The Unleashed Software 2021 UK Manufacturing Report

A data-centric view on the performance of the UK manufacturing sector from 2020 through to Q3 2021

Report Highlights

UK manufacturing
rebounded after 2020

Sales Orders

Increase in the average number of sales orders completed per month by UK manufacturers,
2021 vs 2020

But Q3 saw
activity slow

Average Monthly Sales Revenue in Q3 2020
Average Monthly Sales Revenue in Q3 2021

Exporting to the EU is in the ‘too hard’
basket for some

And EU exporters have recovered
more slowly from the pandemic

2021 Total Sales Revenue Increase, Amongst UK Manufacturers that Export to the EU
2021 Total Sales Revenue Increase, All UK Manufacturers

Firms with any eCommerce integration enjoy higher margins

Average Profit Margin,
no eCommerce
Average Profit Margin,
with eCommerce
* eCommerce integrations measured include B2B sales portals, and integrations with Shopify, Amazon, Vend and Magento

Yet only 38% of UK manufacturers
are eCommerce enabled

eCommerce integrations at UK firms

No eCommerce integrations
eCommerce integrations enabled


We’re in a privileged position at Unleashed. SMBs are the backbone of our economy – and with so many small and medium businesses running on the software we’ve had a front row seat to what has been a remarkable few years in the UK.

In order to share that vantage point we’ve created this Unleashed report on Manufacturing in the UK. In it we address two main questions: How have UK manufacturers responded to the pandemic? And how has the departure from the common market affected firms?

The normal approach here would be to manually survey a group of businesses. However, with Unleashed running entirely within the cloud we’re able to be far more precise. We isolated a sample of 385 UK manufacturers and analysed over 79,000 data points generated by their day-to-day operations.

The result is a unique, data-centric view on the performance of this sector from 2020 through to Q3 2021 – and it has turned up some surprising trends.

I for one was struck by the relationship between profit margins and eCommerce technology. What our report uncovered runs counter to conventional wisdom in this space, and I look forward to seeing these findings play out in our conversations over the coming months.

For now, though, I hope you find the insights enclosed informative, as well as helpful for the business community in the UK.

Stephen Jones Profile Pic
Kind regards,
Stephen Jones,
Steve signature
Unleashed Software Regional Manager, UK & EMEA

About the data

We generated this report using anonymised data from a cohort of 385 Unleashed customers. Firms included were UK-based manufacturers across a broad range of industries that used Unleashed continuously from at least January 2020 to September 2021. It should be noted that Unleashed users skew towards SMB in size, rather than enterprise-scale, and may represent a more technologically enabled subset of the wider UK business community.

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About Unleashed Feature Image

About Unleashed

Unleashed is cloud-based software that gives product businesses clarity and control across suppliers, production, inventory and sales. Founded in New Zealand in 2009 it was acquired by the UK’s Access Group in November 2020. With thousands of users in more than 80 countries, it’s one of the most respected names in inventory, manufacturing and product management software worldwide.
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UK Manufacturing Report

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