Featured Image

What We (Now) Know About Wales

We’ve recently learned a lot about Wales that we didn’t know before!

In carrying out a project commissioned by the Welsh Government to survey the Digital Maturity of Welsh SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises), we built up a rich picture of the diversity that exists within the Welsh business population. This included tracing the differing impacts of Brexit and Covid-19 across rural and urban areas; the varying use of Welsh language across the country; a generational gap opening up in the new hybrid working economy; and the impacts of the growing app economy. 

In this post, I lay out the high level facts and figures we’ve uncovered – in some cases documented for the first time – derived from publicly available information. (For full results, visit the project website in Welsh or English, where you can compare between Unitary Authorities by selecting from the regional dropdown menus, read the full report, the summary with recommendations for businesses, policymakers and business support agencies, or watch the explainer videos.)

Amongst many other things, our study recorded: 

  • the number of Welsh SMEs registered at Companies House; 
  • the number of Welsh SMEs by sector;
  • the rural-urban proportions of Welsh business population;
  • the human population of Welsh Unitary Authorities (UAs), and the number of businesses in those UAs;
  • the use of Welsh language across Wales and by Welsh businesses.

All of these statistics are summarised below.

Total Number of Welsh SMEs found Registered at Companies House, at time of writing: 


The Rural-Urban Business Division of Welsh Businesses

Rural: 14%

Urban: 86%

*based on Companies House data.

Welsh Human and Business Populations by Unitary Authority

The population of Welsh SMEs is based on the number registered at Companies House, by Unitary Authority, derived from postcode data.

Unitary AuthorityHuman PopulationBusiness Population
Blaenau Gwent69,8621,422
Bridgend County Borough Council147,0495,331
Caerphilly County Borough Council181,0754,857
Cardiff Council366,90323,259
Carmarthenshire County Council188,7716,611
Ceredigion County Council72,6952,424
Conwy County Borough Council117,2034,470
Denbighshire County Council95,6964,363
Flintshire County Council156,1006,219
Gwynedd Council124,5604,011
Isle of Anglesey County Council70,0431,884
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council60,3261,602
Monmouthshire County Council94,5904,584
Neath Port Talbot County Borough143,3153,788
Newport City Council154,6767,801
Pembrokeshire County Council125,8185,397
Powys County Council132,4355,073
Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough241,2647,700
Swansea Council246,99311,134
Torfaen County Borough Council93,9612,644
Vale of Glamorgan Council133,5876,091
Wrexham County Borough Council135,9575,040

Use of Welsh Language

We found that Welsh businesses mostly do not use Welsh language on their websites. The distribution of Welsh language on Welsh businesses’ websites on the whole reflects the findings of 2019-2020 Welsh language use survey by unitary authority. However, provision of Welsh language on Welsh businesses’ websites is lower than the proportion of people in those unitary authorities who are Welsh speakers.

That is to say, the small number of companies that do use Welsh tend to be in areas which contain the highest proportion of Welsh speakers, with the exception of Cardiff which has a relatively higher proportion of Welsh language on businesses’ websites than local Welsh speakers compared with other UA proportions.

Welsh language statistics are here taken from the Annual Population Survey 2022, Office for National Statistics.

Unitary Authority %of Businesses in that UA with Welsh Language on their website % population in that UA that are Welsh Speaking
Blaenau Gwent014.5
Bridgend County Borough Council0.422.8
Caerphilly County Borough Council1.2324.6
Cardiff Council3.125.9
Carmarthenshire County Council3.251.0
Ceredigion County Council11.8857.7
Conwy County Borough Council2.6439.7
Denbighshire County Council2.7137.8
Flintshire County Council1.0223.9
Gwynedd Council14.0174.2
Isle of Anglesey County Council12.3962.8
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council0.8721.8
Monmouthshire County Council0.5817.3
Neath Port Talbot County Borough0.8422.6
Newport City Council1.8622.4
Pembrokeshire County Council1.5927.4
Powys County Council1.6930.7
Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough0.2319.8
Swansea Council019.2
Torfaen County Borough Council2.0517.6
Vale of Glamorgan Council2.0623.9
Wrexham County Borough Council1.3726.6

Percentage of Welsh SMEs per Unitary Authority

Unitary Authority% of Welsh SMEs located here
Blaenau Gwent1.14%
Bridgend County Borough Council4.28%
Caerphilly County Borough Council3.90%
Cardiff Council17.85%
Carmarthenshire County Council5.30%
Ceredigion County Council1.94%
Conwy County Borough Council3.58%
Denbighshire County Council3.50%
Flintshire County Council4.99%
Gwynedd Council3.22%
Isle of Anglesey County Council1.51%
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council1.29%
Monmouthshire County Council3.68%
Neath Port Talbot County Borough3.04%
Newport City Council6.26%
Pembrokeshire County Council4.33%
Powys County Council4.07%
Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough6.18%
Swansea Council8.93%
Torfaen County Borough Council2.12%
Vale of Glamorgan Council4.88%
Wrexham County Borough Council4.04%

Percentage / Number of Welsh SMEs by Sector Covered in the Report

Industry ClassificationCount of Businesses classified in Wales% of all classified businesses in Wales
Accommodation and Food Services11734.90
Business and Other Services 1064844.44
Construction 22339.32
Information and Communication 23659.87
Manufacturing 20688.63
Transportation and Storage 7062.95
Wholesale and Retail Trade; Repair of Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles 327013.65

To discuss the ideas presented in this article please click here.