[Infographic] Company Universe Uncovered: 2022

Between a global pandemic, war in Europe and sustained economic instability – the last three years have felt like a perma-crisis. 

Being OpenCorporates however, we asked ourselves: how has the global company universe changed in this time?

That’s why, near the end of last year, we analysed the company incorporation data we hold  since the beginning of 2020 and reflected on what it tells us. With the data, we’ve created the first Company Universe Uncovered – a globally connected view of company incorporations. Think of it as like Spotify Wrapped, but for companies.

Between the thousands of companies being incorporated every day, the findings were at times as surprising as they were insightful…

Overall: The great cool-down?

After a period of unprecedented economic stimulus and low interest rates, are we now seeing the effects of the war in Ukraine, the return of inflation and other negative shocks that took place over the year? 

Total company incorporations fell in 2022
Across all 143 jurisdictions we cover, incorporations in total fell to 7.5+ million in 2022 from 8.7+ million in 2021– a 15% reduction. The US and UK followed a similar trend.

1st day of the month is most active for incorporations across the past three years
The most active day in the year for company incorporations across the past three years was the first of a month each year. Most surprisingly, and we’re not making this up, 1st April (April Fool’s Day) was the most active day for incorporations in 2022. France has an outsized impact on these figures, with often ten times as many incorporations taking place on that day compared to other jurisdictions.

Tuesday was the most active day of the week for incorporations in 2022
This bucked the trend for the two years prior, with most incorporations normally occurring on a Monday in 2021 and 2020.

US spotlight

Total incorporations fell
4.9+ million companies were incorporated in 2022 as a total across all 50 States plus the District of Columbia – 11% less than 2021 where there were 5.5+ million company incorporations.

March was most active month in 2022
March was the most active month in 2022 for US company incorporations (514,941)

Florida was most active State for the past three years
Florida was the US jurisdiction with the most company incorporations for the past three years: 2022 (630,066), 2021(678,170) and 2020 (530,295)

Top five states for incorporations
In 2022, the 5 States with the most company incorporations were:

Florida (630,066)
Texas (404,883)
California (347,452)
Delaware (256,662)
New York (244,876)

UK spotlight

Total incorporations fell very slightly in 2022
764,000+ companies were incorporated in the UK in 2022 – 0.4% less than 2021 where there were 767,000 company incorporations

Number of company officers added to UK companies fell slightly too in 2022
1,439,603 officers were added to companies in 2022 – a 2% reduction from 2021 where there were 1,472,093

March was also the most active month in 2022
77,483 company incorporations took place in March in 2022 – the month that had the most incorporations that year

Private limited companies were the most common UK company type incorporated
And by some distance too! In 2022, there were over 749,987 private limited companies incorporated, many times more than the next most populous company type – private limited by guarantee without share capital – which had 16,597. Interestingly, limited liability partnerships came in third, with 5,076.

Retail sales was the most common industry for newly incorporated UK companies
Retail sale via mail order (houses or via internet) was the most common SIC code used by newly incorporated UK companies across the past three years – with 42,197 in 2022. Across 2022, this was followed by:

28,729 – Buying and selling own real estate
27,543 – Letting and operating of own or leased real estate
24,823 – Management consultancy activities (other than financial management) 

Notes about the data

  1. The data was extracted on 21 December 2022, so figures for 2022 do not cover the entire year.

  2. This is a view of incorporations according to OpenCorporates – exact figures may vary compared to official company registers for many reasons, including: data quality issues with the register, re-mappings or date of incorporation information not being provided consistently. 

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