Annual Business Inquiry

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



The ABI publication originally scheduled for November 2020 is now planned for publication in March 2021, as it has been necessary to extend the data collection period in light of the current economic climate and pressures being faced by local businesses. See the COVID-19 and the production of statistics page for more information.

Latest Reporting Unit results – published 29 November 2019.

Headline results

  • Turnover, defined as the value of total sales and work done by businesses in Northern Ireland, was estimated to be worth £68,437 million in 2018 (excluding VAT): an increase of 3.5% compared to 2017.
  • Purchases of goods, materials, energy, water and services was estimated to be £45,886 million in 2018: an increase of 4.5% compared to 2017.
  • Approximate Gross Value Added (aGVA) was estimated to be £23,797 million in 2018. aGVA, which is a measure of the value of economic activity generated by businesses, increased by 8.0% over the year.
  • The key contributor to the 2018 aGVA growth was the NI non-financial services sector with an increase of 9.5% (£789 million) between 2017 and 2018.
  • The retail and wholesale trade (distribution sector) recorded aGVA growth of £613 million (12.0%) and the construction sector grew by £309 million (12.8%).
  • Following a decline in the previous reporting period, aGVA in the production sector increased by £66 million (1.1%).

Current publication and tables 


Practice T3.6 of the Code of Practice for Statistics requires: Statistics should be released to all users at 9:30am on a weekday.

The release of the ABI 2017 Local Unit statistical report and associated tables was delayed past the required 09:30 time on 27 June 2019.

This breach will be reported to the National Statistician and the report is published here.

NI ABI Questionnaire

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

Usage, methods & quality and revisions policy

Archive data

Related statistics

ABI background information

Explanations of methodology and detailed descriptions of terminology

Read more

ABI sample coverage

Details of Annual Business Inquiry sample coverage.

Read more