Business Data

The British Chambers of Commerce conducts a leading programme of research into business sentiment and economic conditions. This programme includes:

  • The Quarterly Economic Survey, the UK’s largest and longest-running independent survey of business sentiment in the UK, with data dating back to 1989;
  • A series of Thematic surveys offering unrivalled insight in key business issues and conditions, such as Coronavirus, Brexit, international trade, net zero, innovation, and the labour market.

Together, these programmes build one of the most comprehensive archives available on business issues.

These archives present a comprehensive picture of both historical and future business performance and conditions.

For the first time we are making this data available to selected organisations.

1. The Quarterly Economic Survey (QES)

The QES is the BCC’s flagship economic survey; a highly respected survey which has been running since 1989. It has amassed a unique data bank which is used extensively by UK government and the Bank of England, as well as financial institutions across the world.

What makes the QES Unique?

As the national body for 53 Chambers of Commerce across the UK, our Network brings together over 70,000 member businesses of all sizes and from all sectors, and engages with a further 200,000 non-member companies each year.

The QES aggregates data from thousands of businesses across the UK each quarter to form a detailed understanding of business conditions:

  • Sample size – The survey is aggregated from businesses sourced by the Chamber of Commerce network from across the UK. Completed by over 6,000 businesses each quarter, it is one of the UK’s largest and most representative private business surveys. For that reason, it is used extensively by central banks and international organisations seeking to get a clear picture of UK business performance.
  • Multi-sector – it covers both the manufacturing sector (around 25% of respondents) and services sector (75%). A high proportion of respondents from both sectors are exporters.
  • Company size – The survey covers businesses of all sizes, with the vast majority of respondents falling into the SME category of under 250 employees.
  • Timeliness – Each quarter, the QES is made available before official statistics (such as GDP growth), and so provides an up to the minute picture of business sentiment.
  • Extremely detailed – data can be split on a range of dimensions, including business sector, business size, and exporter status, to establish underlying narratives and distinctions.
  • The view directly from businesses – our surveys collect thousands of case studies from businesses, highlighting the specific challenges and opportunities certain industries face.
  • Data insights – as well as raw data, our national experts can help organisations interpret the data to draw unique learnings.

What does it cover?

The QES measures 27 indicators, split over nine key areas, to measure the health of the UK economy. These nine areas are:

  • Domestic sales and orders
  • Export sales and orders
  • Employment levels
  • Recruitment difficulties
  • Investment intentions
  • Business confidence
  • Capacity utilisation
  • Cashflow
  • Price expectations

The QES not only has an extensive body of historical data, but also features a number of ‘forward-looking’ indicators, which measure business sentiment towards future investment decisions and anticipated performance.

2. Thematic business surveys

Sitting alongside the QES, our Thematic business surveys, conducted centrally by the BCC, offer unrivalled insight into the key issues facing UK businesses.

Like the QES, the responses are drawn from businesses across the UK and are also split by business sector, business size, region, and exporter status. These surveys include:

  • The Coronavirus Business Impacts Tracker. Established in March 2020, this became the leading source of insights on the UK business response to the Coronavirus economic crisis from week to week. An extremely high-profile programme, it has been used extensively by the UK government to shape the economic response and has been covered extensively in the media.
  • The BCC Workforce Survey. This is an annual survey of businesses and assesses labour market conditions, access to skills, and the costs of employment.
  • The BCC International Trade Survey. This is an annual survey of businesses and assesses issues around Brexit, changes to EU-UK trade arrangements, international trade barriers and exporting intentions.
  • Beyond this, the BCC has conducted dozens of surveys on other business issues, such as net zero, infrastructure, and innovation and productivity. If suitable partner organisations would like to discuss future survey activity then please contact us at the details below.

Who already utilises BCC data?

BCC data is monitored and utilised by a range of national and international organisations, including:

  • HM Treasury, the Office for National Statistics and other UK government bodies;
  • The Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee, prior to setting interest rates;
  • FTSE 100 firms who need accurate UK regional data for business planning purposes;
  • The European Commission, OECD, and International Monetary Fund, as part of their regular monitoring and assessments of UK economic performance;
  • Investment Banks and other private financial institutions.

What will I receive?

As an initial launch offer, there are a range of options available::

  • Access to survey data sets: Subscribers can gain access to BCC data, including the QES and all issue-specific research results;
  • The latest quarterly results from the QES: The national results from the Quarterly Economic Survey for the latest quarter for all of the indicators listed above, split by manufacturing sector and services sector (a total package of 54 different statistics);
  • The latest quarterly results from the QES, compared against the previous quarter, to give a progressive picture of performance;
  • Other more targeted data sets, including regional, sector, and business size breakdowns – for discussion.

In addition, organisations will also receive bespoke guidance from the BCC’s team of analysts and economists, which can include support, analysis or a presentation to your organisation.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss this in more detail. Please contact Carla Robinson in our Business Development team on [email protected]