Market data

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

  • 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.

  • £6.4bn value of social impact investment market at end of 2020, a 26% increase from 2019 – as at 31 December 2020
  • 8x the growth of social impact investment over the past nine years from £830m in 2011 to £6.4bn in 2020 – as at 31 December 2020
  • 5400 the total number of transactions in social impact investment – as at 31 December 2020

Across all product types (shown in the chart below), social investment deal flow in the 2020 calendar year saw around £1.2 billion of deals committed across approximately 1200 investments, a slight increase from 2019. Given the market context and uncertainty driven by the coronavirus pandemic, this could be explained by the combination of government support measures introduced last year and an increase in demand for social investment from the pandemic.

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

  • Social property

    Social property funds account for the largest segment of the market at 45% of the £6.4 billion outstanding at the end of 2020.

    How has the market grown?

    Outstanding investment in social property funds increased by 35% since 2019 and deal flow for 2020 has also increased by 12% from 2019 with £643 million of deals committed in 2020.

    What caused the growth?

    New property funds launched in 2020 account for 5% of outstanding investment as at the end of 2020 and 10% of the £643 million deal flow in 2020.

  • Social lending

    Social lending includes bank, non-bank lending and charity bonds. It is the second largest segment of the market at 43% of the £6.4 billion outstanding at the end of 2020.

    How has the market grown?

    Outstanding investment in social lending has also increased by 15% since 2019 and deal flow for 2020 has remained relatively stable from 2019 with £517 million of deals committed in 2020.

    What caused the growth?

    In an extraordinary year, some of this growth could be attributed to funds launched as part of the coronavirus response. For example, Social Investment Business's Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund or some existing funds met the crisis by providing additional flexibility and liquidity, including the Community Investment Enterprise Facility and the Access Foundation's Growth Fund. These groups both helped to provide continuity funding to frontlines during the pandemic.

  • Impact venture

    Impact venture accounts for 10% of the overall market.

    How has the market grown?

    Our 2020 estimate for the market size of Impact venture is £670 million (41% growth since 2019).

    What caused the growth?

    Some of this growth is driven by an increase in prior years’ outstanding investments and some from funds not previously included in our market sizing. We are aware this market is growing fast and is likely to be significantly larger than our estimate. For example, Dealroom estimated SDG-related deal flow in the UK at EUR 2 billion in 2020. We think the number that relates to 'impact dedicated' funding is a subset of this larger figure, but likely bigger than our estimate here.

  • Social outcomes contracts

    Social outcomes contracts (SOCs) remain a small yet significant part of the market with deal flow and outstanding investment roughly unchanged from 2019. In 2020, ten new commitments were made to SOCs (~£6 million) across the policy areas of employment, health, and social care in varied locations across the UK.

How do we calculate the market sizing?

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

  • Deal flow in 2020

    The number of investments committed in 2020 compared to 2019 was relatively stable, whereas deal flow (£) across most product areas increased marginally in 2020 apart from in bank lending where there was a decrease of £63 million from 2019 deal flow. Banks have reported record levels of demand during 2020 in an uncertain environment alongside an increased availability of non-bank lending with a focus on emergency liquidity support via Government. The individual number of social enterprises and charities taking investment year-on-year was roughly unchanged.

Deal level data 2020

We also collate ‘Deal Level Data’ - this is transaction level data. The latest figures now capture over 5,100 commitments to invest into social enterprises and charities totalling £2.9 billion. Our deal level data includes £330 million of new commitments made in 2020.

Got a question about the market data?

How do we gather our data for market sizing? What is the definition of market size? We've put together some frequently asked questions and provided the answers.

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.

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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.