Global Connections Survey: guidance

Guidance for businesses on how to complete the Global Connections Survey.

This document is part of a collection

About the Global Connections Survey 2020/2021

This guidance is relevant to those businesses who have received an invitation from the Scottish Government to take part in the 2020/21 Global Connections Survey.

We have provided a pdf version of this guidance for businesses on how to complete the survey in the supporting documents area. 

The Global Connections Survey is the only official trade survey of Scottish businesses. It helps us to understand trading patterns of Scottish businesses and provides data for future trade policy analysis. 

We appreciate that the past few years have been incredibly challenging for businesses due to the ongoing impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and changes as a result of EU exit.  We have therefore decided to run GCS 2020 and GCS 2021 simultaneously and are asking businesses to provide responses for both 2020 and 2021. We understand this is more work initially, but means you will not be asked to participate twice in a short period of time.

Purpose of the survey

Scotland’s Global Connections Survey is the only international trade survey covering the whole economy in Scotland. Results from the survey provide a reliable indication of trends in sales both within the UK and also those sales to markets outside the UK and it is an essential part of estimating the size of Scotland’s economy.

Uses for this information

The analysis from the information provided last year is included in the National Statistics publication, Export Statistics Scotland, and is also used to monitor the National Indicator on ‘International Exporting’. This data also supported the Scottish Government’s export growth plan, A Trading Nation. Continuing to collect this survey data will allow us to update the analysis, monitor the actions from this and continue to inform Scotland’s international trade policy.

The data will also provide us with an important baseline for understanding the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on trade patterns and data for future trade policy analysis.  Ultimately, this data allows us to identify opportunities to develop policies that help more Scottish businesses to export more goods and services to more markets.


If you have any queries relating to the survey or need any further support, please email us at or phone us on 0300 244 0330.

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