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The UK’s top stock-savvy cities

21 October 2021 Data Insights
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For centuries the UK has been one of the world’s hottest investment opportunities. With big businesses and thriving startups all calling it home, there’s fantastic investment potential to be found, with even more fantastic returns for those willing to put their money in. 

Whether investors are big businesses, stock-savvy financiers or the general public, investment can often provide a great opportunity to grow wealth. Areas with successful investors tend to grow and attract further investment, which in turn can help stimulate the local economy and its small businesses. So it’s worth knowing where in the UK is gearing up to grow their portfolio.

So, using Google search data, Paymentsense looked at which cities and their residents are the most interested in investing, showing where investment is thriving, stocks are soaring and local businesses might be getting a boost.

Cities in the UK most interested in investing

Bristol and London’s investment is booming

Go west and you’ll find the UK cities most interested in investing. Bristol might seem like a surprising place to come in top, but the picturesque city beats competition from the likes of Edinburgh, Manchester and Leeds to take the title. 

Bristol has seen a 10% increase in searches for 'investment’ over the past 12 months and a 157% increase in searches for brands’ stock prices. The city is home to 693,552 people, as well as major businesses such as Rolls Royce AirBus and GKN Aerospace, all offering great growth opportunities if residents were looking to invest locally. 

London also takes joint first place. With a population of over 9.4 million and the biggest business district in the country, it’s no shock to see that the capital city is home to Brits researching investing and investment opportunities. The last 12 months have seen a 297% increase in people searching for brands’ stock prices, making up for a 25% decrease in the amount of searches for investments. 

COVID-19 and the aftermath of Brexit have certainly left their mark on London, but as we look to come out the other side those living in the capital show no signs of slowing down.

Edinburgh takes second with steady investment interest

The Scottish capital is something of a sleeping giant when it comes to investment. The city has seen continuous interest in investment, only suffering a 1% decrease in interest through Covid, while enjoying a 53% increase in searches for stocks. 

With companies such as Broompark Holdings (net worth £8.8 million) and Plantfinder (net worth £7.12 million) there are lots of opportunities for residents to invest in their local businesses. 

Leicester comes in fourth with growing trends in searches

Leicester has seen interest in investment opportunities growing, with a 46% increase in searches and a 50% increase in the number of people looking for stocks. The city is famously home to the Walkers crisp factory that produces over 11 million packets a day, but it’s also where the headquarters of Next, Dunhelm and Caterpillar UK are based. 

Glasgow is seeing a huge increase in searches for stock

Another Scottish city, this time Glasgow, completes our top five, although it is experiencing the biggest increase in searches for stock of all our researched cities. 

Over the last 12 months, the city has seen 412% more searches for stocks and shares, with locals looking to make the most of opportunities in the likes of the Royal Bank of Scotland and Scottish Widows. The city is also home to lots of thriving startups, such as Bird.I, CandidateID and Mind Mate, all companies experiencing millions of pounds of growth as they make their way onto the market. 

The UK's top investor cities

Not all cities are enjoying an investment high

Not everywhere in the UK is as excited about the stock market, with some places experiencing a drastic decline in the number of interested investors, whether that be professional or hobbyists. Southampton saw a 33% decrease in people searching for investment terms, while the number of residents looking for stocks stayed flat. At only 50 searches a month out of a population of almost a million, that’s nothing to shout about. 

Stoke is another city seemingly uninterested in investing. The home of the potteries saw a 3% decline in investment searches, while its average of 10 searches a month for stocks hasn’t changed. 

Cardiff is perhaps the most surprising city to be towards the bottom of our ranking. The Welsh capital is something of a hub for law, media and commerce companies, but that hasn’t piqued the interest of locals looking to invest. Over the last year there was a 20% decrease in investment searches and a 29% decrease in searches for stock, with the city not faring as well as the capitals of Scotland and England.

Active investment can lead to growth in the local economies and opportunities for small businesses

There’s been a notable shift over the last decade in how accessible buying, selling and understanding stocks is. Previously investment may have been privy only to the stock-savvy experts, traders and financially literate. Now, there’s a wide range of user-friendly apps and online guides that make investing less elitist and widely accessible.

This new convenient and easy portal to investing allows the ‘average Joe’ to try their hand but that’s not all. Not only can investing be a way to grow one’s personal wealth, but it can also help funnel equity back into the local economy. This is because in some cases, it can lead to more disposable income for Brits. Income they then spend on local services and in local businesses. 

Others may even use money generated from investment to invest back into their own small business endeavours and drive their start-up forward by upscaling with new tech including upgraded websites or new contactless card machines

Whatever the reason, investing is here to stay and Brits are building their portfolios.

 *Investment requires putting capital at risk. This is not an endorsement for investment. Always research potential investments and read the terms and conditions prior to making an investment decision.


To rank the cities we looked at search volumes and search trend over the last year for the following investment terms in each city:

  • Investing
  • Investing in stocks
  • How to invest
  • Investing in cryptocurrencies
  • Investing in index funds

We also analysed search volumes and search trends for 100 different brand stock prices. 

The results for each of these factors were then combined to give us the following final variables:

  • Average monthly search volumes for investing terms
  • Average monthly search volumes brand stock prices
  • Average searches for investing per 100,000 people
  • Average (over last 12 months) search trend for Investing terms (%)
  • Average (over last 12 months) search trend for people searching brand stock prices (%)

Each of these factors were given a score and weighted equally in order to give the final index score for each city.

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