EE & CEBR study identifies £2.1 billion pop-up retail contribution to UK economy

  • Pop-Up UK report from EE and CEBR reveals pop-up retail economy expected to grow by 8.4 per cent over the next 12 months
  • Growth could be higher if significant barriers such as high costs,  lack of technology and challenges with retail space were removed
  • EE launches Pop-Up UK initiative with British Retail Consortium and Appear Here, removing barriers for pop-ups, and helping 3,000 entrepreneurs set up pop-ups over next 3 years
  • EE launches the world’s first mobile data offer and bundles designed for pop-up retailers featuring a 30 day 4G connection and discounts on products and services ideally suited for pop-ups

22 July 2014, London: Pop-up retailers contribute £2.1 billion to the UK economy each year (equivalent to 0.6 per cent of total UK retail turnover) and the sector is expected to grow by 8.4 per cent over the next 12 months, according to a study released today from economists CEBR and EE, the UK’s most advanced digital communications company.

An estimated 23,400 people work in nearly 10,000 pop-up shops across Britain, ranging from temporary restaurants and shops to product trials from recognised brands, and the industry is projected to grow nearly 2.5 times faster than the traditional UK retail market¹ in the next year. 

However, the Pop-Up UK report reveals growth could be even faster, with CEBR stating that if the barriers to pop-up retailing were reduced, double digit growth could be easily achieved. The most significant barriers include lack of flexible short term contracts, finding appropriate and flexible space, obstructive business rates and rents, and lack of access to technology including waiting over two weeks for fixed-line internet access.

Even during the 15th anniversary of the modern pop-up² these barriers persist, which is why EE has partnered with marketplace for pop-up space, Appear Here, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and a range of pop-up entrepreneurs to launch the Pop-Up UK campaign.

Spearheaded by Ross Bailey, the 22 year old CEO of Appear Here, along with Mike Tomlinson, EE’s Director of Small Business, EE’s Pop-Up UK campaign aims to help 3,000 entrepreneurs set up pop-up shops over the next 3 years. The campaign features:

  • How to start a pop-up shop guide – a step-by-step plan to pop-up success written by pop-up entrepreneurs, for pop-up entrepreneurs, which includes quotes and advice from success stories, including Playn Eyewear, Press London, Good & Proper Tea, the Ribman and Appear Here
  • 4G Pop-Up bundle – EE is launching the world’s first mobile data offer specifically designed for pop-up retailers. This new bundle, which provides pop-ups with an instant 4G connection for 30 days and can include other products such as the iZettle payment card reader, aims to help entrepreneurs overcome key technological barriers by providing instant connectivity, temporary plan periods and a range of devices
  • Mentoring and advice from Ross Bailey and EE – the 22 year old entrepreneur who established online pop-up space marketplace Appear Here, together with business and technology leaders from EE, will provide mentoring to select pop-ups, sharing tailored advice, guidance and top tips. Entrepreneurs interested in applying for the mentorship programme should email
  • EE support – Dedicated EE helpline will provide support on the technology needed to establish a pop-up shop

Ross Bailey, CEO and founder of Appear Here, says: “Pop-ups are the future of retail, and this campaign goes a long way to helping remove the barriers pop-ups are facing every day. Whether you’re a major retailer that wants to try out a new product line or just one person with a great idea – setting up a pop-up should be as easy as possible. This new Pop-Up UK campaign helps remove technological barriers plus helps connect entrepreneurs with their ideal pop-ups locations. However, there’s much more support needed to help pop-ups achieve their true potential, particularly from the Government.”

Mike Tomlinson, Director of Small Business at EE, said: “Small businesses, and pop-ups in particular, face massive barriers and we’ve launched Pop-Up UK to stoke the fire under Britain’s pop-up retail economy.  As part of this campaign we’ve launched the Pop-Up Bundle, the world’s first data plan designed specifically to help pop-up retailers overcome the technological barriers they face.  Pop-ups can use the power of our 4G network to connect with their customers via social media, take mobile payments, collaborate with suppliers, and securely access all of their important data in the cloud.

“We’ve worked with a wide range of pop-up entrepreneurs to understand how we can help them achieve their goals. This campaign is built to provide aspiring pop-ups with the instant superfast 4G internet connections, flexible plans and technological hardware they’ve told us they need. By solving these problems we believe we can really make a difference, which is why we’ve committed to helping 3,000 pop-up entrepreneurs open shops over the next 3 years as part of the campaign.”

Richard Lim, head of business information at the British Retail Consortium, said: “These figures demonstrate the important role pop-up retail is playing in the UK economy, but we’re only at the beginning of this pop-up revolution. The novel use of these temporary spaces showcases the innovative nature of UK retail which continues to adapt to consumer demands and structural changes occurring throughout the industry.  This campaign is seeking to do the much-needed job of removing the barriers that are holding pop-ups backs from their true potential.”

Prices for the Pop-Up Retail bundle begin from just £11.25 per month and can include discounts on our plans and products. At the heart of the bundle are the most flexible data plans available in the UK, offering pop-ups a superfast 4GEE connection designed to end exactly when they need it to, ranging from one to 12 months.

Additional products available through EE for pop-ups include:

  • iZettle – card reader device which enables any pop-up to take card payments by linking the device with their phone
  • Pocket Landline – a service which provides a local landline number that rings straight to a mobile ensuring that pop-ups never miss a call and have a local phone presence
  • Smartphones and tablets – the latest 4G smartphones, tablets and gadgets, packed with extras and inclusive benefits

To find out more or to sign up for EE’s Pop-Up Retail bundle call the helpline on: 0800 956 6106 or visit the website at

EE also recently announced Business Apps, a new suite of apps aimed at small businesses, including sole traders and pop-ups. The range of business apps selected by EE provides productivity and efficiency benefits, and includes top office, publishing, and accounting apps such as Microsoft Office 365 and Sage One. More information is available at

- ENDS -

Notes to Editors

¹ All figures sourced from Britain’s Pop-Up Retail Economy Report, published in July 2014 and available at:

Overall retail turnover of the pop-up retail economy is calculated by combining consumer survey data from Vision Critical and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates on the number of over 18s within the UK. Combining the value for the average spend over the last 12 months in pop-up shops by over 18s and the number of over 18s within the UK, CEBR is able to put a pound figure on the amount of turnover generated in the pop-up retail sector.

Growth is calculated using estimated spend of consumers in the next 12 months coupled with ONS population estimates, providing a pound value for the expected turnover of the pop-up retail industry over the next year.

To estimate the number of employees and businesses within the pop-up sector, CEBR utilised Business Population Estimates from the Department for Business Innovation & Skills to provide as similar  as possible turnover to employee and turnover to businesses ratios. Utilising the calculation of the overall turnover of the industry and combining it with the Business Population Estimates provides an expected figure for the number of employees and businesses within pop-up retailing.

Britain’s Pop-Up Retail Economy was produced in partnership by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) and EE, using insight from Appear Here, British Retail Consortium (BRC), Playn Eyewear, Press London, the Ribman, Good & Proper Tea and BoxPark.

² The first modern pop-up shop was Vacant in Los Angeles in 1999:

How to launch a pop-up shop was produced by EE, using insight from a range of pop-up retailers and companies, including BoxPark, Appear Here, Playn Eyewear, Press London, the Ribman and Good & Proper Tea. It is available here:

For more information, please contact the EE Business press team on: or 020 7544 3735


Emily Fingland t: 020 7544 3735 m: 07772 611542 e: 

Richard Bell t: 020 7544 3758 m: 07805 568395 e:

About EE

EE is the largest and most advanced digital communications company in Britain, delivering mobile and fixed communications services to consumers, businesses, government and the wholesale market. EE has approximately 15,000 employees and 550 retail stores, and serves more than 30 million customers across its mobile, fixed and wholesale businesses.

EE runs the UK's biggest, fastest and most reliable mobile network, pioneering the UK's first superfast 4G mobile service in October 2012. EE's 4G coverage today reaches more than 70% of the UK population.  EE’s 2G coverage reaches 99% of the population while 3G reaches 98%. EE's superfast fibre broadband service covers 54% of the UK population, and ADSL broadband service covers 98.7% of the population.

In the last few years, EE has received extensive independent recognition including being ranked the UK's best overall network by RootMetrics®, Best network at the 2014 Mobile News Awards, Fastest Network at the 2013 uSwitch Awards, Best Network at the 2013 Mobile Choice Consumer Awards and What Mobile Awards, Network Innovation at the 2013 Recombu awards and Best Network for Business at the 2013 Mobile Industry awards.

[1] Statistics from the retail trade sector of micro-sized businesses (0-9 employees) was used to ensure our calculations reflected turnover to employee ratios seen in pop-up retailing.  

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