Broad Economy Sales and Exports Statistics 2018

Date published: 19 December 2019

The BESES is an experimental annual measure of local businesses’ sales to markets outside Northern Ireland.

Estimates of the number of businesses selling to markets outside NI are also presented. The latest estimates remain designated as ‘experimental’ to reflect the fact that they are under development.

Sales and exports

  • Total sales by companies in Northern Ireland (NI) were estimated to be worth £68.4 billion in 2018, an increase of 3.5% (£2.3 billion) over the calendar year.
  • Sales within NI increased by £2.5 billion to £46.7 billion, up 5.7% over the year and are at the highest level since the survey commenced in 2011.
  • Sales to Great Britain (GB) decreased by £1.1 billion to £10.6 billion, down 9.3% over the year. 
  • Sales to markets outside the UK (exports) increased by £837 million (8.1%) over the year, to £11.2 billion.
  • Sales to all markets outside NI (external sales) i.e. GB sales plus exports, fell by £241 million (1.1%) to £21.7 billion, and accounted for almost a third of total sales in 2018 (31.7%).
  • This is the second consecutive year of falling external sales. These falls continue to be driven by a substantial decline in the Food, Beverages and Tobacco subsector.
  • Exports to Ireland (IE) increased by £330 million (8.6%) over the year, to £4.2 billion.
  • Exports to the Rest of the EU (EU, excluding IE) increased over the year by £425 million (20.9%) to £2.5 billion. Exports to the Rest of the World (ROW) increased by £82 million (1.8%) over the year, to £4.5 billion.
  • Trade estimates split by District Council Area have been produced for the first time.
  • The full report is available here.

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