New research reveals biggest concentration of hair and beauty salons is in the northwest of England

New research reveals biggest concentration of hair and beauty salons
is  in the northwest of England

  • New research analysing geographical distribution and density of hair and beauty salons across the UK shows the northwest of England is most popular with Blackpool, Preston, Blackburn, Lancaster and Crewe all in the UK top ten.
  • Experts say the clear north/south divide is thanks in part to the influence of style icons including footballer’s wives Coleen Rooney and Alex Gerrard, the popularity of events such as Ladies Day at Aintree and the success of TV shows like Real Housewives of Cheshire.
  • The study, carried out by British mapping company Mapmechanics, is based on official data from more than 62,000 trading beauty businesses, including barbers, spas, hair-implant clinics and nail salons.


Distribution of hair & beauty  salonsWhether it’s popping in for a half head of highlights, booking a spray tan or having a lunchtime wax, the UK’s £17bn beauty and personal care market is currently booming, with over 60,000 salons employing more than one million people and forecast to grow by 16% this year, according to recent figures.

Now, for the first time, analysis of official data by British mapping company Mapmechanics shows the geographical distribution of hair and beauty salons and reveals a clear north/south split, with the highest concentration based in the northwest of England.

Outside London (where, West End aside, the most number of hair and beauty salons can be found, appropriately, in Barnet) Blackpool comes top of the league table, with 391 businesses for a population of 280,000, with the northwest towns of Preston, Blackburn, Lancaster and Crewe close behind. Between them, these five towns boast 2,616 salons for a combined population of 1.9million — one salon for every 726 people.

Their popularity may come as little surprise to fans of the hit reality TV show Real Housewives of Cheshire, which regularly features glamorous WAGS from the northwest getting preened and pampered in the many local beauty salons.

Next month, thousands of women will gather at Aintree, near Liverpool, for Ladies Day, one of the highlights of the sporting and fashion calendar, when salons across the northwest traditionally report a boom in business, as women rush to top up their tans, have their nails done and get their hair blow-dried.

Sunbeds and sprays tans offered by beauty salons are synonymous with the northwest of England. In 2009, popstar Miley Cyrus was seen emerging from a tanning salon in Blackpool, while last year former X-Factor bad boy Ryan Ruckledge, from Blackpool, was rushed to hospital with chest pains and palpitations after admitting to using an illegal tanning hormone he’d been injecting for months to boost the effects of his six sunbed sessions a week. This hasn’t put many men off, however. Last year, a survey of 1,008 UK beauty salons by AURA tanning sprayers — offered by salons — revealed 84% had seen business increase by up to 80% in recent years, with image conscious men fuelling the surge to achieve the Joey Essex look.

David Cockrell, Director at Mapmechanics, said:

Our research reveals there is a clear north/south divide in the density and popularity of hair and beauty salons across the UK. This popularity is driven not only by the influence of regional celebrity icons, sporting events and shows on television, but also the desire to look younger, economic growth and the increase in real disposable income.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the least concentrated parts of the country for hair and beauty salons are in the Shetland Islands and the Highlands of Scotland, according to the data by Mapmechanics. Here, just 30 businesses serve a combined population of 50,000 — one salon for every 1,600 people. However, the bottom ten spots in the country are also dominated by large towns in the home-counties, including Swindon, Reading and Oxford.

The data is based on analysis of 2016 official Standard Industry Codes (SIC) no. 96020 (Hairdressing and other beauty treatment) used by Inland Revenue to classify businesses in the United Kingdom. SIC 96020 includes barbers shops, beard trimming, beauty parlours, beauty specialist, beauty treatment activities, coiffeur, electrolysis specialist, facial massage, hairdressing ,make-up and beauty treatment, manicurist parlours, pedicure parlours, trichologist parlours.  The businesses are geocoded with AMD UK Unit postcode points and displayed on the shaded map with AMD UK Postcode Sector, District & Area Boundaries.