Energy, goods and services used by UK businesses: 2021

Expenditure on energy, goods and services used as inputs to UK business processes – intermediate consumption – by product type and industry. Estimates from the Annual Purchases Survey 2021.

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Release date:
1 June 2023

Next release:
To be announced

1. Main points

  • Across all industries in 2021, the products with the highest expenditure included: “renting, buying or selling property”, “construction of buildings”, “advertising and market research”, “computer programming, consultancy and related services”, and “rental and leasing services”; these five groupings made up just over a fifth of total intermediate consumption.
  • Spend on electricity was the highest expenditure on “energy” products, at around 3% of total intermediate consumption in 2021.
  • “Fabricated metal products”, “machinery and equipment”, “motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers”, “computer, electronic and optical products” and “basic iron, steel and ferro-alloys” were the most purchased “goods”; expenditure on these five categories came to just over a tenth of total intermediate consumption in 2021.
  • Please note, processing for the 2019 and 2020 Annual Purchases Survey was deprioritised during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and data for these years have not been published.
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2. Energy, goods and services used by UK businesses data

Energy, goods and services used by UK businesses
Dataset | Released 1 June 2023
High-level and detailed table of intermediate consumption proportions and values by industry group, UK.

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3. Measuring the data

The product values in the dataset are constrained to Annual Business Survey estimates of intermediate consumption, where equivalent industries are available.

Data collections for the Annual Purchases Survey ran for 2019 and 2020 but, because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there were high levels of non-response and internal resource issues, which meant processing was deprioritised. Data for these years have therefore not been published because of quality concerns. Results from 2021 will unavoidably be affected by poorer data quality in the previous years, but response and quality assurance have improved. However, caution should be taken with particular industries affected by coronavirus – for example, tourism, accommodation, catering.

As in previous years, industry groupings that contain a mix of different types of businesses should also be treated with caution. Survey methodology assumes a level of similarity between companies in the same groupings. These “catch all” groupings within the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) can give volatile product patterns depending on which companies happen to be selected. Some such groupings include:

  • division 32 – Other manufacturing
  • division 96 – Other personal service activities
  • division 74 – Other professional, scientific and technical activities

Between 2018 and 2021, there have been changes to the questionnaire to allow for the reporting of wood and wood products under energy consumption. Caution should therefore be taken when comparing with earlier releases of the datasets for the following product groupings of the Statistical Classification of Products by Activity (CPA):

  • 01 – products of agriculture, hunting and related services
  • 02 – products of forestry, logging and related services
  • 06 – crude petroleum and natural gas
  • 16 – wood and products of wood and cork, except furniture; articles of straw and plaiting materials
  • 19 – coke and refined petroleum products and other potentially related categories

For SIC Section K Financial and insurance activities – industries 64 to 66, as with other business surveys, there are reporting issues with industry groupings that contain trusts because the survey is based on the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR). Trusts are not listed on the IDBR and therefore the coverage of the financial industries is problematic. Our intention, subject to further consultation, is therefore to remove Section K from future surveys – please email us at if you have views on this.

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5. Cite this statistical bulletin

Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 1 June 2023, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Energy, goods and services used by UK businesses: 2021

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Dai Summers
Telephone: +44 1633 456602