Annual Business Inquiry

Details on the conduct and results of the Northern Ireland Annual Business Inquiry.



Headline results

Latest Local Unit results – published 29 July 2022

  • In 2020, the income generated by non-financial businesses in Northern Ireland (NI), less the cost of goods and services used to create this income, was estimated to be £26.3 billion. This amount represents the approximate Gross Value Added (aGVA) at basic prices of the NI non- financial business economy (NFBE), excluding farming, financial services and the public sector.
  • aGVA at Basic prices represents the income generated by businesses, out of which is paid wages and salaries, the cost of capital investment and financial charges before arriving at a figure for profit.
  • In terms of the profile of aGVA across the economy,  the Service sector represents the largest share of aGVA (38.5%) followed by the Production and Distribution (Wholesale & retail trade) sectors (27.1% and 24.2% respectively). The Construction sector accounts for 9.9% of aGVA.

Change between 2019-20

  • The NI non-financial business economy, as measured by the Northern Ireland Annual Business Inquiry, recorded an increase of £40 million (0.2%) in aGVA from 2019 to 2020. This growth was driven by increases in the Production and Wholesale and retail sales sectors; these were offset by decreases in aGVA in the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, Construction and Service sectors.
  • The key driver of aGVA growth was the Production sector (that includes Mining and quarrying; Manufacturing; Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply; and Water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities) which increased by £0.8 billion (12.9%) between 2019 and 2020. The majority of aGVA growth in this sector is attributable to the Energy generation and supply section which increased by £334 million (48.4%).
  • Wholesale and retail trade within the distribution sector recorded aGVA growth of £68 million (1.1%).
  • The Construction sector recorded a decrease in aGVA of £435 million (14.3%).
  • The NI non-financial Services sector saw a decrease in aGVA, decreasing by £402million (3.8%) from £10.5 billion to £10.1 billion. This was despite a significant increase in aGVA in the Real estate activities section which saw an increase of £338 million (46.0%).
  • Turnover (i.e. the value of total sales and work done) in the NI non-financial business economy as a whole decreased by £5.5 billion (7.5%) over the year and purchases of goods, materials, energy, water and services decreased by £3.8 billion (8.0%).

Current publication and tables 

NI ABI Questionnaire

For details of changes to the NI Annual Business Inquiry questionnaire for survey year 2014 please see the link below:

NI ABI Questionnaire Guidance Notes

For guidance notes to assit in completing the Annual Business Inquiry questionnaire please follow the link below:

Usage, methods & quality and revisions policy

Archive data

Related statistics

ABI background information

Explanations of methodology and detailed descriptions of terminology

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ABI sample coverage

Details of Annual Business Inquiry sample coverage.

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