Manufacturing SMEs in line with national average for business savings

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the manufacturing and engineering sector hold an average £444,000 in business savings accounts, according to new research from specialist challenger bank Hampshire Trust Bank.

The annual study shows manufacturing and engineering SMEs put an average 49% of total funds in business savings accounts, in line with the national average of 52% of total funds.

When asked why they plan to increase the amount held in business savings accounts, 60% of manufacturing and engineering SMES said they were building a cash buffer, higher than the national average of 49%.

According to the data* IT and communications is the only sector to have grown business savings balances since the run up to the EU Referendum in 2016 – increasing their savings pots by 5% and overtaking accountancy firms as the biggest savers. The national average for business savings is £446,000, a 20% drop compared to last year**.

While IT and communications businesses have the largest savings pots, SMEs in the retail sector are the most active savers, investing 74% of total funds in business savings. SMEs in the legal sector hold the lowest proportion of total funds in savings (38%).

Charities have decreased their business savings balances the most (-69%), followed by accountancy firms (-39%) and retail SMEs (-31%).

Sector table


2017 business savings account
(% of total funds)

% change from 2016*

2017 current account

IT & communications

£843,000 (53%)

5% (2016: £804,000)



£667,000 (64%)

-39% (2016: £1,085,000)


Financial services

£555,000 (50%)

-19% (2016: £687,000)



£533,000 (59%)

-25% (2016: £708,000)


Manufacturing & engineering

£444,000 (49%)

-18% (2016: £543,000)


Health and medical

£421,000 (47%)

-16% (2016: £504,000)



£317,000 (38%)

-10% (2016: £354,000)



£289,000 (74%)

-31% (2016: £418,000)


Construction & building

£264,000 (48%)

-17% (2016: £319,000)



£155,000 (52%)

-69% (2016: £497,000)



£446,000 (52%)

-20% (2016: £556,000)


Stuart Hulme, Director of Savings at Hampshire Trust Bank, said: "Our research reveals the sector differences when it comes to the amount being put into savings accounts. It is encouraging to see that retail, accountancy and architect SMEs are confidently planning for the future by placing the majority of their total funds into savings. Given the current uncertain economic environment it is perhaps not surprising that charities have decreased their savings pots as they may be spending more on charitable causes, however, it is positive to see that in terms of the proportion of total funds being saved they are in line with the national average.

"Rather than stockpiling cash in current accounts, SMEs should consider the opportunities available to make the most out of their hard earned cash. It is important for businesses to shop around for a savings account that provides a better rate of return and helps them build for the future."

About the research

Hampshire Trust Bank commissioned research in partnership with Coleman Parkes research agency. As part of the research, which took place in May 2017, Coleman Parkes conducted interviews with 500 SMEs, defined as businesses that have 250 employees or less.
Last year's research, again conducted in partnership with Coleman Parkes, took place in August 2016 and also involved interviews with 500 SMEs.

* The average business savings balance for charities in 2016 was £497,000.
** The average business savings account balance in 2016 was £556,000.

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