Market data

Every year, we collate and publish data on the estimated size of the social impact investment market in the UK.

PR
  • Size of the UK social impact investment market

    Our annual market sizing estimates the value of the total market in the UK, and the four areas where we see real opportunity for growth in social impact investment – social property, social lending, impact venture and social outcomes contracts.

  • £7.9bn value of social impact investment market at end of 2021, a 22% increase since 2020 – as at 31 December 2021
  • 10x almost ten-fold growth over the past ten years, increasing from £830m in 2011 to £7.9bn in 2021 – as at 31 December 2021
  • 7000 the total number of transactions in social impact investment – as at 31 December 2021

Across all product types, social investment deal flow in the 2021 calendar year saw around £1.6 billion of deals committed (an increase of 20% from 2020) across approximately 1,300 investments, stable from 2020. This shows a market trend towards larger commitments despite the number of investments being relatively stable.

Explore the data in the chart and further commentary on the four focus areas below.

  • Social and affordable housing

    Social and affordable housing funds accounts for 48% of the social impact investment market.

    How has the market grown?

    Outstanding investment in social property funds increased by 30% since 2020 to £3.8 billion at the end of 2021 and deal flow for 2021 has increased by 22% from 2020 with £785 million of deals committed in 2021.

    What caused the growth?

    New property funds launched in 2021 account for 9% of outstanding investment as at the end of 2021 and 10% of the £785 million deal flow in 2021. The rest of the growth is driven by 2021 deal flow and an increase in value in assets from previous years’ commitments.

  • Social lending

    Social lending includes bank, non-bank lending and charity bonds. It is the second largest segment of the market at 42%.

    How has the market grown?

    Outstanding investment in social lending has increased by 12% since 2020 to £3.3 billion and deal flow for 2021 has increased by 7% from 2020 with £677 million of deals committed in 2021.

    What caused the growth?

    For charity bonds, outstanding investment has increased by 19% since 2020 to £440 million in 2021 and deal flow increased by 31% to £76 million committed in 2021. For bank lending, outstanding investment has increased 13% since 2020 to £2.3 billion whilst deal flow has remained stable with a small 1% increase from 2020 to £438 million in 2021. Non-bank lending outstanding investment has increased by 7% to £582 million and deal flow has increased by 15% to £162 million in 2021.

  • Impact venture

    Impact venture accounts for 9% of the overall market.

    How has the market grown?

    Outstanding investment in impact venture funds has increased by 30% since 2020 to £751 million, at the end of 2021. There has been a significant increase in deal flow from £63 million in 2020 to £144 million committed in 2021 (128%).

    What caused the growth?

    As evidenced by the increase in annual deal flow and outstanding investment in 2021, we are aware this market is growing fast and is likely to be significantly larger than our estimate. For example, Dealroom data estimated SDG-related deal flow in the UK at pre-seed to Series B grew approximately 40% from 2020 to 2021 (to circa. £1 billion). We think the number that relates to 'social impact dedicated' funding is a subset of this larger figure but is likely to be larger than our estimate here.

  • Social outcomes contracts

    Social Outcomes Contracts (SOCs) account for 1% of the overall market.

    How has the market grown?

    Social outcomes contracts remain a small yet significant part of the market with deal flow and outstanding investment roughly unchanged from 2020.

    What has caused the growth?

    In 2021, two new commitments were made to SOCs (~£3 million) across the policy areas of employment, health, and social care in varied locations across the UK.

  • Market sizing methodology.png

    Market sizing methodology

    Each year since 2016, we have produced a comprehensive estimate of the size of the UK social investment market through our market data research. Find out more about the methodology our team developed to calculate an estimate of the market size.

    Learn more
  • FAQ icon

    Market data FAQs

    Got a question about the market data? We've put together some frequently asked questions and provided the answers.

    Learn more

Enterprise level data 2021

In addition to our market sizing estimate, we also collate enterprise level data. This includes transaction level data to show what social investment is flowing to charities, social enterprises, social purpose organisations or property assets and who is accessing it.

Share your data

Each year we publish an annual estimate of the size of the social investment market in the UK. We also publish a list of social impact investments made into social enterprises and charities, both through our own investments and from other investors in the market. We will continue to update this estimate annually, as we continue to make advances in data and transparency.

If you are a social impact investor, you can contribute by sharing your data with us to publish.

Share your data
Golden Lane Housing.jpg

Get in touch

If you would like to share your data, or if you are interested in the data we produce, please do get in touch.