Broad Economy Sales and Exports Statistics

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

NISRA published its Broad Economy Sales and Exports Statistics (BESES) results relating to local businesses’ sales in 2018 to markets outside Northern Ireland (NI) in December 2019. This release provides information on the value of goods and services purchased by NI businesses in 2018.

Northern Ireland Broad Economy Sales and Exports Statistics: Purchases and Imports Results 2018 - published 21 May 2020.

Headline Results 

  • Total purchases by companies in Northern Ireland (NI) were estimated to be worth £45.9 billion in 2018, an increase of 4.5% (£2.0 billion) over the year.
  • Total purchases of goods were estimated to be worth £35.3 billion in 2018, an increase of 5.0% (£1.7 billion) over the year.
  • Total purchases of services represented 23.2% of total purchases in 2018 and were estimated to be worth £10.6 billion. Purchases of services increased by 3.0% over the year (£0.3 billion).
  • Imports were estimated to be worth £7.9 billion in 2018, an increase of 11.6% (£0.8 billion) over the year.
  • Imports of goods were estimated to be worth £6.9 billion in 2018, an increase of 10.2% (£0.6 billion). Imports of goods represented 87.1% of all imports.
  • Imports of services represented 12.9% of total imports in 2018 and were estimated to be worth £1.0 billion. Imports of services increased by 21.5% (£0.2 billion) over the year.
  • Imports from Ireland (IE) were estimated to be worth £2.8 billion in 2018, an increase of 6.2% (£0.2 billion) over the year.
  • Imports from Rest of EU (REU) were estimated to be worth £2.6 billion in 2018, an increase of 17.8% (£0.4 billion) over the year.
  • Imports from Rest of World (ROW) were estimated to be worth £2.4 billion in 2018, an increase of 11.8% (£0.3 billion) over the year.
  • Purchases from Great Britain (GB) were estimated to be worth £13.4 billion in 2018, an increase of 1.4% (£0.2 billion) over the year. Purchases of goods represented 77.7% (£10.4 billion) of these purchases, with services representing 22.3% (£3.0 billion) of GB purchases.

Draft Programme for Government

The annual rate of external sellers (i.e. the proportion of all survey-eligible businesses that sell outside NI), has been selected as an indicator in the draft Programme for Government (PfG) Framework and NICS Outcome Delivery Plan 2018/19. It is used alongside a number of other indicators to inform progress against Outcome 1, prospering through a strong, competitive, regionally balanced economy.

The external sales rate (ie; the proportion of all survey-eligible businesses that sell outside NI) increased from 22.9% in 2015 to 24.8% in 2017.

https://www.nisra.gov.uk/statistics/programme-government

Current publications and tables

EU Exit analysis

Comparison with HMRC Regional Trade Statistics

BESES estimates are not directly comparable with HMRC Regional Trade Statistics due to methodological differences.

Background information

Usage, methods & quality and revisions policy

Archive data

Mailing list

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Exporting Northern Ireland Services

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