Annual Business Inquiry

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



Headline results

Latest Reporting Unit results – published 23 November 2021.

  • 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 £25.7 billion. This amount represents the approximate Gross Value Added (aGVA) at basic prices of the NI non-financial business economy, excluding farming and financial services.
  • 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.

Change between 2019-20

  • The NI non-financial business economy, as measured by the Northern Ireland Annual Business Inquiry (NIABI), recorded an increase of £353 million (1.4%) in aGVA from 2019 to 2020.
  • The key driver of aGVA growth was the NI Production sector (industry Sections B-E) which increased by £655 million (10.4%) between 2019 and 2020. The majority of aGVA growth in this sector is attributable to the Energy Generation and Supply section (Section D) which increased by £403 million (61.4%).
  • Information and Communication services within the non-financial services sector (Section J) recorded aGVA growth of £291 million (24.1%). There was a decrease in the Construction sector (Section F) of £494 million (16.1%).
  • The non-financial services sector (Sections H-S) showed an increase in aGVA of £147 million (1.5%) from £9.6 billion to £9.8 billion. Growth in section J, L, M and P-S was partially offset by a decline in Sections H, I and N.
  • Turnover (i.e. the value of total sales and work done) in the NI non-financial business economy as a whole decreased by £4.3 billion (6.0%) over the year to £67.1 billion and purchases of goods, materials, energy, water and services decreased by £3.3 billion (7.0%) to £43.4 billion.
  • A combination of falling turnover and falling purchases underlay the aGVA growth of 1.4% due to businesses recording a larger percentage decrease in their year on year purchases compared to their percentage decrease in year on year turnover. aGVA can be crudely considered to be total sales minus total purchases hence, in simplistic terms, even though business income is less than the previous year, the expenditure of businesses experienced a greater decrease and thus by proxy the businesses are adding more to the economy.

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

Read more

ABI sample coverage

Details of Annual Business Inquiry sample coverage.

Read more