Aim of this survey

The Annual Purchases Survey aims to collect information about business’ expenditure on energy, services, goods and materials that are used up or transformed by the business activity. The survey includes raw materials, power and fuel, rental on buildings and business services such as advertising, recruitment consultancy and cleaning. It specifically excludes fixed assets or capital investment, staff costs, and goods and services bought for resale without further processing.

The information supplied helps identify the purchasing patterns of businesses to inform UK government policy. The information also contributes to the UK National Accounts, UK gross domestic product (GDP) estimates and ensures the UK meets international obligations, particularly to the European Union.

What you need to know

To complete the survey, you will need the following information:

  • trading period
  • total purchases
  • purchases of energy, water and waste
  • purchases of services
  • purchases of goods, materials and related services

All information you provide is strictly confidential.

Survey information

Selection criteria: UK trading businesses registered for Value Added Tax (VAT) and/or Pay As You Earn (PAYE)
Population: approximately 2.4 million
Sample: approximately 32,000
Frequency: annually
Dispatch dates: rolling dispatch between 25 and 28 February
Return-by date: 27 April

Dispatch and return-by dates are a guide. They are subject to change due to national holidays and weekends.

Why you were selected

Your business has been selected from a directory of businesses in the UK that are registered for VAT and/or PAYE or with Companies House. Your response ensures we represent your industry.

The Annual Purchases Survey is conducted under the provisions of the Statistics of Trade Act 1947. Once selected, your business is legally obliged to comply. You cannot appeal your selection.

Why you have received this survey

We survey businesses of all sizes to ensure our statistics are representative of the UK economy. We select large businesses (those with 100 plus employees) for any relevant Office for National Statistics (ONS) business surveys because their information is so significant.

We select some small and medium businesses, usually for a set period of time, then replace them with other businesses from their industry. They are very important to us as their trading patterns are often very different to large businesses.

How to complete this survey

Please complete and return the questionnaire following the guidelines on the front page.

Reminders are issued automatically, so you may receive one if you submit data just before or after the return date.

At the moment, this survey is not available to complete online. We are currently developing a secure online collection platform. You will receive a letter notifying you when you can complete the Annual Purchases Survey on our new platform. We appreciate your patience.

If you need help

You can call us on +44 (0)300 1234 217. Please contact us on +44 (0)300 1234 921 if you would like to speak to someone in Welsh.

Er mwyn gwneud cais am ffurflen Gymraeg: +44 (0)300 1234 921