Numbers of British bricks-and-mortar businesses have declined to a four-year low, according to a new report.

Research from the Office of National Statistics showed that the number of registered UK enterprises rose by 10.61% between 2014 and 2016, but has fallen by 11.32% since 2016. But it is not all doom and gloom - the data also shows that construction is up by 6.48%.

Online chat service supplier Yomdel examined the data to find out which sectors were the most affected. It found that one of the most endangered sectors was retail, with a fall of 30.22% since 2016. It says that this is due to the way shoppers’ habits have changed, for both high-involvement purchases down to everyday goods, as buying online is fast becoming the method of choice.

The number of enterprises registered in the public administration and defence sectors has been the worst hit, down 69.82% between 2016 and 2018.

Yomdel’s Business Growth Expert and CEO, Andy Soloman, said that it is “important to consider how we support and revive this decline going forward.

“Whether it is the government taking responsibility for our defence, health and education sectors, or us as consumers helping to support our grass roots retail and service sectors, it’s vital for the wider economy that we see business return to Britain.

“The current landscape is tough, and not only is political uncertainty driving down consumer spend, but the greater preference to shop and interact with businesses online is also resulting in many shutting their doors.

“While this convenience will always take preference due to our busy schedules, we believe everyone should find that balance between shopping online and supporting their local businesses.”