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Research suggests that 2024 will be a big year for UK businesses, especially for restaurant owners who are set to lead the way in growth


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Business expansion and automation are significant considerations for restaurants, retailers, and beauty businesses. The majority of restaurant owners (89%) are planning to expand their UK business because 2024 will be a big year for UK business. Consumers are interested in trying out new products and services while also embracing automated technology.

Square, a technology company focused on simplifying commerce and financial services, has unveiled its fourth annual Future of Commerce report today in London, UK. This report provides a detailed analysis of how business owners and consumers are viewing the evolution of the restaurant, retail, and beauty sectors. It sheds light on the shifts occurring in these industries, highlighting diversification and automation as prominent trends for business owners to keep in mind that 2024 will be a big year for UK businesses.

The study involved surveys of thousands of 2024 will be a big year for UK business owners and consumers, along with global insights gathered from the United States, Canada, and Australia.

According to Samina Hussain-Letch, Executive Director of Square UK, there’s a sense of cautious optimism that 2024 will be a big year for UK businesses regarding the future, especially among retailers and restaurant owners who are optimistic about growth. Square’s ecosystem is designed to support businesses in their expansion endeavors, whether it involves opening new locations, enhancing reservation systems, or introducing new payment solutions, all while fostering customer loyalty and engagement.

For retailers, growth is a primary focus, with business owners seeking ways to connect with shoppers both online and in-person to meet their evolving preferences. The UK sees a nearly equal split between online (49%) and in-store (51%) shopping habits among consumers, which is more balanced compared to global trends. Retailers must adapt to meet the demand for online shopping, as evidenced by the significant portion (45%) of UK purchases made online in December 2023. Additionally, there’s a growing interest in personalized digital shopping experiences, with over a third (43%) of retailers aiming to offer such experiences.

Rich Bayer, UK Country Manager at Clearpay, emphasizes the importance of providing seamless payment options to customers, particularly with the rising popularity of Buy Now, Pay Later transactions. Retailers need to evaluate their payment offerings to ensure they align with customer preferences and provide flexibility at the checkout.

In-store experiences play a crucial role in driving foot traffic for retailers, with over half of shoppers (54%) expressing interest in trying in-store dining options like cafes or wine bars. Moreover, convenience is paramount, with a majority of in-store shoppers (61%) preferring contactless payment methods.

For restaurants, the focus is on expansion, with most restaurateurs (89%) aiming to diversify their offerings by introducing new products or services. However, consumers in the UK are projected to reduce their restaurant spending in 2024 will be a big year for UK businesses, signaling the need for restaurateurs to find more efficient ways to attract and engage customers.

Consumers expect restaurants to adopt technology to enhance their dining experience, with a significant portion (76%) welcoming the implementation of automated systems, especially in light of staffing challenges.

A robust, user-friendly reservation system is crucial for attracting diners, as evidenced by consumer preferences for making bookings directly through a restaurant’s website (45%).

The report also highlights insights from the beauty industry, emphasizing the role of loyalty in choosing a beauty salon. Payment methods, such as contactless options, play a significant role in retaining loyal customers, with the majority (69%) preferring contactless payment options.

Lois Williamson, Founder & Owner of Si Belle, underscores the importance of having an integrated system like Square, which facilitates various business functions seamlessly. Square’s platform enables businesses to expand effortlessly and replicate success across different locations.

Additionally, the report reveals consumer preferences for automated reminders and engagement with new offerings from personal care businesses, presenting opportunities for salon owners to upgrade their technology.

For a comprehensive overview of the top trends in the restaurant, retail, and beauty industries for 2024 will be a big year for UK business, including industry data, insights from Square experts, and real-life examples from Square sellers, the full report is available for download.

Notes to editors: 2024 will be a big year for UK business

Further insights from the report include: (2024 will be a big year for UK business)


  • The convenience of online shopping drives its popularity, with nearly three-quarters of global shoppers (74%) citing ease as a key factor.
  • Social media channels present opportunities for retailers, with consumers buying an average of nine products directly from social media in the past month.
  • Retailers need to prioritize website and social media quality, as these factors influence consumers’ decisions to visit them for the first time.


  • Solid online booking platforms are essential for restaurant success, as only 39% of Brits prefer booking dinner reservations over the phone.
  • Contactless payment methods are preferred by almost half (49%) of diners.
  • A majority (61%) of global consumers support the use of AI technologies in restaurants.


  • Consumers are interested in engaging with new offerings from personal care businesses, such as online tutorials and virtual classes.
  • Loyalty and payment options are crucial factors for retaining customers in the beauty industry.

About Future of Commerce:

The retail and restaurant surveys were carried out by Wakefield Research. They surveyed 2,000 retail owners and managers as well as 2,000 restaurant owners and managers. Each survey had quotas for 500 respondents per market in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. The surveys were conducted between October 27 and November 8, 2023, using email invitations and online survey methods.

The consumer survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 4,000 nationally representative adults ages 18+ in the U.S., Canada, the UK, and Australia, with quotas set for 1,000 respondents per market, between November 15 and November 28, 2023, using email invitations and online surveys. Data has been weighted. 2024 will be a big year for UK business

About Square:

Square offers a range of commerce solutions and financial services to simplify business operations. Its integrated ecosystem includes purpose-built software for various industries, e-commerce tools, financial services, staff management, and payroll capabilities. Millions of sellers worldwide trust Square to power their businesses and help them succeed in the economy. For more information, visit globalsupermarketnews.com

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