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Top five exporters account for almost one-third of all goods exports in 2016

The largest five exporters accounted for over €36 billion of goods exports in 2016, equating to 31% of all exports.  Almost 75% of total goods are exported by the top 50 exporting enterprises. 

In contrast, the top five importers accounted for only 12% of all goods imported in 2016 while the top 50 importers were responsible for over 40% of all imports. See table 2.1.

Large enterprises (over 250 employees) dominate exports while there is a more even spread of goods imported across all sizes of enterprises.

Two-thirds of goods exports in 2016 were from large enterprises; and about a third of exports were from SMEs (up to 249 employees). See table 3.1.

Over 60% of goods imports arrived to SMEs (up to 249 employees).  Micro enterprises (less than 10 employees) and small enterprises (10 to 49 employees) each accounted for one sixth of imports.  Large enterprises accounted for just over a third of imported goods. See table 4.1.

Just under 70% of all importing enterprises in 2016 were micro in size and they imported €12.7 billion of goods, or 17% of total goods imported. See table 4.1.

The Pharmaceutical sector is the biggest single exporter of goods from Ireland, while the Wholesale and Retail sector is the single biggest importer. See table 5.1.

This is a new publication from the Central Statistics Office which analyses goods exports and imports data from the point of view of the activity and the size of the enterprises engaged in trade in goods. This differs from the traditional focus of trade statistics, which is on the products being traded.  In other words, this publication deals with who is trading rather than what is being traded.

The Trade by Enterprise Characteristics data (TEC data) published here covers imports and exports data from 2013 to 2016 and gives information on the size profile of trading enterprises based on the number of employees, and also by six broad NACE activity categories. For each category the value of trade and the number of enterprises is given.

Go to Concentration of value of traders