Export Statistics Scotland: methodology

Information about the methodology used to produce the estimates of Scotland's exports in the Export Statistics Scotland publication.

ESS processing: using official data sources

For most businesses, turnover information is sourced first. Then export information is either gathered or modelled by calculating the proportion of turnover which is exports.  

The data used in the Export Statistics Scotland publication is at business level and information on exports or turnover for each business comes from one of the different data sources detailed in the data sources table. Many of the sources used will only apply to certain businesses (for example only service industries are present in the ONS International Trade In Services data).  

If we have a GCS response, then that is used as the turnover source. The GCS data only contains responses from the businesses which were sampled and responded to the survey (see the ESS population section for further information on the GCS population and sample frame). The next step is to add turnover information from the Scottish Annual Business Statistics (SABS) data, which is matched into the population by business (reporting unit). Turnover is sourced from SABS for around 91% of businesses in the population. The data sources table describes the other sources for turnover information which are used for specific parts of the business population. Where there is no turnover information for a business in either GCS, SABS or sector specific data sources, IDBR turnover data is used. 

The first source of export information is the GCS data, where we have exports supplied by the businesses in their survey responses. At this stage the ESS data contains the whole business population, but we only have export values for GCS respondents. If an export proportion is available from one of the data sources listed in the data sources table, then that is applied to the turnover to get an export value for the business. Then we use an estimation process, known as grossing, which assigns an export proportion to each business we do not have direct estimates for, based on the export values we do have for businesses with similar characteristics. Further detail on this process is provided in the next sections. 


If you have any enquiries relating to these statistics then please contact the Trade Statistics team at:

Email: exports.statistics@gov.scot

Trade Statistics
5th Floor Atlantic Quay 5
150 Broomielaw
G2 8LU

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