The UK’s burgeoning shared-office market is being fueled by corporate demand and smaller niche providers, with larger brands accounting for less than a fifth of the market, research has revealed.

A report from flexible workspace provider The Instant Group shows that flexible office centres across the UK increased by 10% to 5,320 in 2017, helped in part by a 4.9% increase in the total number of operators during the period to more than 2,800 companies.

The top five UK workspace providers were Regus (5%), Bizspace (2%), Orbital Devel (1%), Flexspace (1%), WS Group (1%) and Bruntwood (1%). The remaining providers accounted for 88% share during the period.

In London, Regus held 8%, WS Group was 6%, London Executive Offices (LEO) was 3%, The Office Group (TOG) was 2%, The Boutique had a 2% share and WeWork had 2%, with the other providers accounting for 77%.

Although Regus, WS Group and LEO still lead the way when it comes to centre numbers, they only make up 17% of the market due to the number of small niche and specialised operators in the city, the report said.

John Duckworth, managing director at Instant Group EMEA and UK, said: “There are two key trends in our market data: the continued diversification of the flexible workspace offer from a growing number of operators and the large increase in corporate demand for flexible options.”

Both trends relate to a growing awareness among companies of greater choice in the market, Duckworth said. Companies are becoming much more demanding about securing different types of space that fit their specific business requirements, he said.

“This is rewarding the smaller, more nimble operators that can tailor their space to more specific client needs or those that are big enough to run larger spaces that can satisfy the 20-plus and 50-plus desk requirements that are dominating the market.”

Of the offices that Instant tracks, the UK represents over 25% of global supply thanks to early adoption and strong demand from occupiers, the report said – although this figure is forecast to decrease as other global markets grow at a higher rate.