Broad Economy Sales and Exports Statistics

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

Broad Economy Sales and Exports Statistics Quick Reference Guide

The latest estimates of local businesses’ sales to markets outside Northern Ireland for 2020 are presented within this release. All values are in current prices and relate to the sales of both goods and services.

Northern Ireland Broad Economy Sales and Exports Statistics 2020 – published 15 December 2021.

Headline Results 

Total Sales

  • In 2020, total sales by companies in Northern Ireland (NI) were estimated to be worth £67.1 billion.

Sales by Destination

  • Sales within NI amounted to £45.9 billion, accounting for 68.4% of total sales.
  • The remainder of sales were fairly evenly split between those to GB (£10.9 billion) and sales to markets outside the UK (i.e. exports) of £10.3 billion, accounting for 16.3% and 15.3% of total sales respectively in 2020.
  • Exports to Ireland amounted to £4.1 billion in 2020 and were noticeably higher than those to the Rest of the EU combined (£2.2 billion). At £4.0 billion, exports to the Rest of the World were marginally lower than those to Ireland, with North America accounting for half (£2.0 billion) of such sales.

Change in Sales between 2019 and 2020

  • NI’s total sales decreased by 6.0% (£4.3 billion) over the calendar year, falling from £71.3 billion in 2019 to £67.1 billion in 2020. Business have reported that the Covid-19 pandemic was the significant factor in these falling sales.
  • Sales within NI also decreased over the period in question (down £2.9 billion or 5.9%) as did exports to Ireland (down £0.4 billion or 9.7%), the Rest of the EU (down £0.3 billion or 10.7%) and the Rest of the World (down £0.8 billion or 16.3%).
  • In contrast, sales to GB showed a marginal increase of 0.7% (£0.1 billion), rising from £10.8 billion in 2019 to £10.9 billion in 2020.

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.

User Consultation

Background information

Usage, methods & quality and revisions policy

Archive data

Mailing list

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Exporting Northern Ireland Services

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