Broad Economy Sales and Exports Statistics

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

In December 2019 NISRA published its Broad Economy Sales and Exports Statistics (BESES) results relating to local businesses’ sales in 2018 to markets outside Northern Ireland. The latest publication provides further disaggregation of these results into the value of goods and services sold.

Northern Ireland Broad Economy Sales and Exports Statistics: Goods and Services Results 2018 - published 12 March 2020.

Headline Results 

  • 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.
  • Total sales of goods were estimated to be worth £46.3 billion in 2018, an increase of 1.1% (£0.5 billion) over the year.
  • Sales of services represented 32.3% of total sales in 2018 and were estimated to be worth £22.1 billion. Sales of services increased by 8.7% over the year (£1.8 billion).
  • External sales to markets outside of NI fell by £0.2 billion (1.1%) to £21.7 billion in 2018.
  • External sales of goods by NI companies were estimated to be worth £15.2 billion in 2018, 70.0% of all external sales. This represents a decrease of 6.6% over the year (£1.1 billion). This was driven by a continuing decline in the Food, Beverages and Tobacco sub sector.
  • External sales of services were estimated to be worth £6.5 billion or 30.0% of all external sales in 2018. This represents an increase of 14.7% (£0.8 billion) over the year.
  • Exports (sales outside the UK) were estimated to be worth £11.2 billion in 2018, an increase of 8.1% (£0.8 billion) over the year.
  • Exports of goods were estimated to be worth £8.7 billion in 2018, an increase of 5.8% (£0.5 billion). Exports of goods represented 77.6% of all exports sales.
  • Exports of services represented 22.4% of total export sales in 2018 and were estimated to be worth £2.5 billion. Exports of services increased by 16.8% (£0.4 billion) over the year.

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

Archive data

Mailing list

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Manufacturing Sales and Exports Survey

The annual NI MSES provides information on the value of sales and exports generated by all businesses classified within the manufacturing industry in NI. 

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Exporting Northern Ireland Services

Based on information collected via the ITIS and supplemented with information from MSES and NIABI.

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