Export Statistics Scotland: methodology

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

How do we estimate Scotland’s exports?

In Exports Statistics Scotland (ESS), we provide estimates of the value of Scotland’s international exports and exports to the rest of the UK. These export values are provided for all sectors of the economy from 2019 to 2021, including manufacturing and service sectors but excluding oil and gas. Industry sectors are defined using Standard Industrial Classification of economic activities (SIC). The export figures are presented in current prices, which means they have not been adjusted for inflation. The value of exports is measured in pounds (£).   

The Scottish Government conducts the Global Connections Survey (GCS), which is one of the main sources for estimating Scotland’s exports. Additional UK wide official surveys and administrative sources are also used to produce the export figures.  

Scotland’s export value is estimated by collecting information about the sales of businesses in Scotland (i.e. turnover) and determining the proportion of these sales that are exports. This export proportion can then be used to estimate export proportions for similar businesses that we do not have information for, to create an estimated export value for the whole of Scotland. The data sources used and the technical process for estimating the export statistics are described in more detail in the ESS processing section.  

The GCS is the primary source for estimating Scotland’s exports to the rest of the UK. There are no other direct sources of information about Scotland’s exports to the rest of the UK, because businesses are not legally required to report their accounts at a sub-national level.   

Detailed information relating to Scotland’s exports from 2019 to 2021 can be found in the accompanying Excel tables.  


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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