1. Main points
In December 2022, approximately one in six (16%) businesses had been affected as a result of industrial action; 28% of those businesses reported they were unable to obtain necessary goods for their business and 23% were unable to operate fully.
When looking ahead to February 2023, one in five (20%) businesses reported energy prices were their main concern, followed by inflation of goods and services prices (16%) and falling demand of goods and services (14%).
In December 2022, 16% of businesses with 10 or more employees reported that they had experienced global supply chain disruption; this has remained broadly stable since October 2022.
In early January 2023, more than a quarter (28%) of businesses with 10 or more employees reported they were experiencing a shortage of workers; more than half (56%) of those businesses reported employees were working increased hours as a result of these shortages and 40% reported they were unable to meet demands.
Nearly half (48%) of trading businesses with 10 or more employees that had imported in December 2022 reported they had experienced an increase in importing challenges compared with November 2022, with changes in transportation costs being reported by the largest proportion of businesses (30%); these percentages were 45% and 25% respectively for exporting businesses.
2. Headline figures
The data presented in this bulletin are the results from Wave 73 of the Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS), which was live from 28 December 2022 to 8 January 2023.
The final response rate for Wave 73 was 19.9% (7,808 responses). The average response rate in previous waves has been approximately 24%. The Wave 73 response rate was lower than usual because of the Christmas period, bank holidays and the survey being live for a shorter period of time. This means that the estimates in this release are subject to more uncertainty than usual.
The data reported within BICS bulletins and datasets are estimates that are subject to uncertainty, for example, sampling variability and non-sampling error. Further information on quality is available in our Business insights and conditions 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 60 (27 June to 10 July 2022) are available in our Business insights and impact on the UK subnational single-site economy: July 2022 article.
Please note that businesses were asked to exclude seasonal changes when answering questions contained within BICS.
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Figure 1: Headline figures from the Business Insights and Conditions Survey
- For presentational purposes, some response options have been combined and/or excluded.
- Business concerns: the data for equivalent period last year are not available as the question was not asked for this time period.
- Data are plotted in the middle of the period of each wave.
Download the data
Of currently trading businesses with 10 or more employees, 20% had exported and 25% imported in the last 12 months.
Those businesses that had exported and/or imported were asked how their exporting and/or importing in December 2022 compared with December 2021, and which challenges they had experienced an increase in compared with the previous calendar month.
Figure 2: Exporting and importing figures from the Business Insights and Conditions Survey
- Exporting or importing compared with the same month last year: percentage of businesses currently trading with 10 or more employees and had reported they had exported or imported in the last year. For presentational purposes, response options have been combined.
- Exporting or importing challenges: percentage of businesses currently trading with 10 or more employees, reported they had exported or imported in the last year, and reported how their exports or imports were affected. Businesses may report that exporting or importing has not been affected but are still able to report challenges.
- Caution should be taken when interpreting these results based on the specific routing of this question, meaning that only a small number of businesses responded.
- Data are plotted in the middle of the period of each wave.
Download the dataBack to table of contents
3. Business Insights and Conditions Survey data
Business insights and impact on the UK economy
Dataset | Released 12 January 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 8 December 2022
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 72 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.
Net balance is the difference between the percentage of businesses that reported a decrease, and the percentage of businesses that reported an increase.Back to table of contents
5. Measuring the data
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 December 2022|
Publication Wave 71
|5 January 2023|
Publication Wave 72
|12 January 2023|
Publication Wave 73
Download this table Table 1: Sample and response rates for Wave 71, 72 and 73 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 73 survey was live for the period 28 December 2022 to 8 January 2023. The 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 sectors 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:
oil and gas extraction
energy generation and supply
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 quality and methodology information.Back to table of contents
6. Strengths and limitations
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
8. Cite this statistical bulletin
Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 12 January 2023, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Business insight and impact on the UK economy: 12 January 2023
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
Telephone: +44 1633 456417