Fewer than a quarter (24%) of trading businesses reported lower turnover in June 2023 compared with May 2023; in comparison, 15% reported their turnover was higher in June, with both figures broadly stable with the proportions reported for May 2023.
When looking ahead to August 2023, more than half (54%) of trading businesses expect their turnover to stay the same while 15% reported that they expect their turnover to increase, down four percentage points from the 19% reported for July 2023.
Fewer than one in six (15%) trading businesses expect to raise the prices of goods or services they sell in August 2023; of these, a quarter (25%) reported energy prices as a reason for considering doing so, 21% reported labour costs and 19% reported raw material prices.
More than one in six (17%) trading businesses reported they expect staffing costs to increase over the next three months, with the accommodation and food service activities industry reporting the largest proportion (25%); these percentages are down from 30% and 61%, respectively, from April 2023.
Nearly one in five (18%) businesses reported a decrease in domestic demand for goods and services in June 2023 compared with May 2023; this is up from the 16% reported for both May and April 2023.
The data presented in this bulletin are the final results from Wave 86 of the Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS), which was live from 26 June to 9 July 2023.
The data reported within BICS bulletins and datasets are estimates that are subject to uncertainty, for example, sampling variability and non-sampling error (see our Uncertainty and how we measure it for our surveys methodology). Further information on quality is available in our Business Insights and Conditions Survey Quality and Methodology Information (QMI) and we regularly update confidence intervals associated with the survey questions.
Experimental single-site weighted regional estimates up to Wave 74 are available in our Business insights and impact on the UK subnational single-site economy: February 2023 article.
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Figure 1: Headline figures from the Business Insights and Conditions Survey
1. For presentational purposes, some response options have been combined and/or excluded.
2. Prices: for presentational purposes, the data shows an increase to prices bought and sold compared with the previous calendar month.
3. Data are plotted in the middle of each wave.
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The percentage of businesses that reported they were trading in early July 2023 was 95%, with 86% fully trading and 9% partially trading (for example, trading with reduced hours or staff numbers). Meanwhile, 4% of businesses reported "temporarily paused trading" and 2% "permanently ceased trading" as their business's trading status.Back to table of contents
Trading businesses were asked how their turnover in June 2023 compared with May 2023, excluding any seasonality trading.
The proportion of trading businesses that reported that their turnover had decreased compared with the previous month was 24%, broadly stable with May 2023. The accommodation and food service activities industry had the largest proportion of businesses reporting a decrease in turnover, at 39%. Trading businesses within this industry commented they were being affected by the high inflation of food and drink prices and the higher level of Value Added Tax (VAT).
The proportion of trading businesses that reported their turnover had increased in June 2023, compared with May 2023, was 15%. Most trading businesses in all sectors reported turnover had remained the same, broadly stable with May 2023.
Trading businesses were asked about their turnover expectations for August 2023, excluding any seasonality trading.
More than one in six (15%) trading businesses expect turnover to increase in August 2023 down from 19% of businesses that had these expectations for July 2023.
In comparison, one in six (17%) trading businesses expect their turnover to decrease in August 2023, up from the 13% reported for July 2023. Most trading businesses, however, expect turnover to remain the same (54%), broadly stable with expectations for July 2023.Back to table of contents
Prices bought and sold
Businesses permanently stopped trading were asked how the prices of goods or services bought and/or sold by their business in June 2023 compared with the previous calendar month.
The percentage of trading businesses that reported higher prices for goods or services bought in June 2023 compared with May 2023 was 32%, broadly stable with those that reported higher prices in May 2023 compared with April 2023.
Businesses that had not permanently stopped trading were asked what their expectations were for the prices of goods or services they sell in August 2023.
When asked in early July 2023, fewer than one in six (15%) trading businesses expected to raise the prices of goods or services they sell in August 2023, down from the 17% reported for July 2023. In comparison, 59% of businesses expect prices to stay the same in August 2023, this is broadly stable when comparing with expectations of July.
Price rise reasons
Businesses that had not permanently stopped trading were asked what, if anything, was causing them to consider raising their prices in August 2023.
The most reported reasons for why trading businesses are considering raising their prices in August 2023 were:
- Energy prices (25%), down 2 percentage points from July 2023
- Labour costs (21%), up 1 percentage point from July 2023
- Raw material prices (19%), down 3 percentage points from July 2023
In contrast, 46% reported they are not considering raising prices, the highest percentage reported since the question was introduced. This percentage dropped from 40% in December 2022, to 33% in January 2023, but has seen a steady increase since January 2023.
Further details on price expectations broken down by trading status, industry and size band are available in our accompanying dataset.
Businesses that had not permanently stopped trading were asked how domestic demand for goods and services in June 2023 compared with the previous calendar month.
In early July 2023, 18% of businesses reported a decrease in domestic demand for goods and services in June 2023 compared with the previous calendar month, up from the 16% reported for both May and April 2023. There was a small fall in the proportion of businesses who reported increased domestic demand (down three percentage points from May 2023 to 8%).Back to table of contents
More than a quarter (29%) of businesses reported their staffing costs have increased over the last three months, broadly stable with early April 2023.
More than one in six (17%) businesses reported they expect staffing costs to increase over the next three months, down 13 percentage points from 30% of those who had these expectations in early April 2023.
The accommodation and food service activities industry reported the highest proportion of businesses that expect staffing costs to increase over the next three months, however this was down 36 percentage points from early April 2023.
When asked in early July 2023, more than a quarter (26%) of businesses were either using a hybrid model of working or working from home in June 2023, broadly stable with May 2023. In contrast, 69% of businesses reported that their workforce was working from a designated workspace in June 2023.Back to table of contents
Business insights and impact on the UK economy
Dataset | Released 13 July 2023
Weighted estimates from the voluntary fortnightly Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS) about financial performance, workforce, prices, trade and business resilience. This dataset includes additional information collected as part of the survey not presented in this publication.
Business insights and impact on the UK economy confidence intervals
Dataset | Released 27 April 2023
Confidence intervals for weighted estimates from the voluntary fortnightly business survey (BICS) about financial performance, workforce, prices, trade and business resilience. These data are not official statistics but have been developed to deliver timely indicators to help understand the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and other events.
Access to microdata
You can access the microdata for Waves 1 to 85 of the Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS) through the Secure Research Service (SRS). The BICS microdata for each wave are released on a rolling basis in the week following the publication of each wave. The microdata are made confidential and do not disclose information on any specific business.
Only researchers accredited under the Digital Economy Act, as explained on the UK Statistics Authority website are able to access data in the SRS. You can apply for accreditation through the Research Accreditation Service (RAS). You need to have relevant academic or work experience and must successfully attend and complete the assessed Safe Researcher Training.
To conduct analysis with microdata from the SRS, a project application must be submitted to the Research Accreditation Panel (RAP), as explained on the UK Statistics Authority website. To access the SRS, you must also work for an organisation with an Assured Organisational Connectivity agreement in place.Back to table of contents
The business unit to which questionnaires are sent is called the reporting unit. The response from the reporting unit can cover the enterprise as a whole or parts of the enterprise identified by lists of local units.Back to table of contents
More quality and methodology information (QMI) on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses, and how the data were created is available in our Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS) QMI, updated on 24 January 2022.
The BICS is voluntary, and the results are experimental. More information is available in our Guide to experimental statistics.
|Wave||15 June 2023 Publication|
|29 June 2023 Publication|
|13 July 2023 Publication|
Download this table Table 1: Sample and response rates for Wave 84, 85 and 86 of the Business Insights and Conditions Survey.xls .csv
The results are based on responses from the voluntary fortnightly BICS, which captures businesses' views on financial performance, workforce, prices, trade and business resilience. The Wave 86 survey was live for the period 26 June 2023 to 9 July 2023. Our BICS survey questions are available.
The Monthly Business Survey (MBS) covers the UK for production and Great Britain (GB) only for services. The Retail Sales Index (RSI) and construction are GB-focused. Therefore, the BICS will be UK-focused for production-based industries, but GB-focused for the other elements of the economy covered. The industries covered are:
- non-financial services (includes professional, scientific, communication, administrative, transport, accommodation and food, private health and education, and entertainment services)
- distribution (includes retail, wholesale, and motor trades)
- production (includes manufacturing, oil and gas extraction, energy generation and supply, and water and waste management)
- construction (includes civil engineering, housebuilding, property development and specialised construction trades such as plumbers, electricians, and plasterers)
The following industries are excluded from the survey:
- public administration and defence
- public provision of education and health
- finance and insurance
For more information on the methodology of producing the BICS, such as weighting, please see our BICS QMI report.Back to table of contents
More quality and methodology information (QMI) on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses, and how the data were created is available in our Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS) QMI.Back to table of contents
Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 13 July 2023, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Business insights and impact on the UK economy: 13 July 2023
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
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