Northern Ireland Annual Business Inquiry Local Unit Statistics for Non-Financial Businesses 2019

Date published: 30 July 2021

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency has today released headline results from the 2019 Northern Ireland Annual Business Inquiry (ABI) Local Unit (LU) survey.

Results from 2019 Northern Ireland Annual Business Inquiry Local Unit survey.
Results from 2019 Northern Ireland Annual Business Inquiry Local Unit survey.


Full detailed results are available in the Northern Ireland Annual Business Inquiry Local Unit Statistics Bulletin and downloadable tables at the Annual Business Inquiry page of the NISRA website.

Main Results

  • In 2019, 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 £26.2 billion. This amount, which is £2.1 billion (8.6%) higher than in 2018, represents the approximate Gross Value Added (aGVA) at basic prices of the NI non-financial business economy.
  • The Services sector (industry Sections H-S) increased by £1.0 billion (11.2%) between 2018 and 2019, making it the main driver of NI aGVA growth. The majority of aGVA growth in this sector is attributable to the Information and Communications services section (Section J) which increased by £353 million (24.5%).
  • Retail and wholesale trade within the Distribution sector (Section G) recorded aGVA growth of £638 million (11.2%). There was also growth in the Construction sector (Section F) of £297 million (10.8%).
  • The Production sector (which includes Mining and quarrying: Manufacturing; Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply; and Water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities) saw an increase in aGVA, increasing by £99million (1.6%) from £6.2 billion in 2018 to £6.3 billion in 2019. This was despite a decrease in aGVA of £238 million (5.0%) in the Manufacturing section.
  • Turnover (i.e the value of total sales and work done) in the NI non-financial business economy as a whole increased by £3.3 billion (4.7%) over the year. Purchases of goods, materials, energy, water and services also increased, rising  by £0.9 billion (1.9%) from £46.7 billion in 2018 to £47.6 billion in 2019. 

Notes to editors: 

1. Local Unit explanation

  • An enterprise reporting unit reports for all the local units within the enterprise (for example, the reporting unit for a large supermarket chain will respond with aggregate figures incorporating all its Northern Ireland shops) These returns are captured in the Annual Business Inquiry Reporting Unit publication. A local unit is an individual site (factory, shop, office, etc.) at which an enterprise conducts its business. For example, a supermarket chain may have shops in multiple locations, these are local units. It is the data returned for these local units that is used to create this publication.
  • For industrial classifications a reporting unit is classified based on the dominant activities of the local units. Therefore for the Reporting Unit publication multiple local units which have different standard industrial classifications (SIC codes) will be grouped together under the one reporting unit which has the SIC code of the most dominant local unit. For example, a business (reporting unit) could have multiple sites (local units), one concerned with manufacturing and the other involved in the wholesale and retail trade of their products.  Depending on the level of employment at each site, the reporting unit could either be classified under the Production sector or the Wholesale and Retail trade sector.
  • However for the Local Unit report, the activities of each individual local unit will be reported under the relevant SIC code for that unit. Therefore there will be some differences in the results between the Local Unit and Reporting Unit reports.

2. Public sector bodies, financial services and most of agriculture are excluded from the survey.

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