Businesses in Scotland: 2022

Information on the number of businesses (also known as enterprises) operating in Scotland.

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Industry Sector

As at March 2022, the largest industry sector was 'Construction'. This had 47,055 businesses. ‘Professional, Scientific & Technical Activities’ and ‘Wholesale/Retail’ were the next largest industry sectors. These had 45,240 businesses and 36,385 businesses respectively. These three sectors accounted for 35.7% of all private sector businesses in Scotland.

These three sectors were also the largest for private sector registered businesses. As at March 2022, ‘Professional, Scientific & Technical Activities’ had 26,480 registered businesses. ‘Wholesale/Retail’ had 25,140 registered businesses and ‘Construction’ had 21,855.

The total number of registered businesses reduced by 1,940 businesses (-1.1%) between March 2021 and March 2022. This was driven by falls in the ‘Professional, Scientific & Technical Activities’ and ‘Information & Communication’ industry sectors. ‘Professional, Scientific & Technical Activities’ saw a decrease of 2,575 businesses (-8.9%). And ‘Information & Communication’ saw a decrease of 1,320 businesses (-13.8%) over the latest year. These decreases may have been influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic with businesses reluctant to take on consultancy work in uncertain times. The introduction of the contractors “off payroll – working rules” changes (IR35) introduced by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) may have also been a factor.

Chart 4: Number of registered private sector businesses, Scotland, by industry sector, as at March 2021 and as at March 2022


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Marina Curran

Business & Innovation Statistics

Office of the Chief Economic Adviser

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Office of the Chief Statistician

Telephone: 0131 244 0442



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