Back to Top

 Skip navigation


The Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey (BICS) has been created to measure and report quickly on key features of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on business in Ireland.

The survey is being conducted online and covers a sample of approximately 3,000 enterprises. The first wave of the survey was collected in the week commencing 20 April 2020 while the most recent sixth wave of the survey was collected 24 August 2020.

Wave Period Covered Response Rate
1 16 March to 19 April 2020  26.0%
2 20 April to 3 May 2020 24.5%
3 4 May to 31 May 2020 27.9%
4 1 June to 28 June 2020 27.1%
5 29 June to 26 July 2020 24.9%
6 27 July to 23 August 2020 25.5%

Statistical Confidentiality

The survey was collected from enterprises on a voluntary basis under Section 24 of the Statistics Act, 1993.

The information collected in the survey is confidential under the Statistics Act and will only be used by the Central Statistics Office for the compilation of aggregate statistics. The CSO has checked the statistical outputs of the survey to ensure that tables do not disclose details of any company. The raw data will not be shared with any other organisations.

The CSO would like to thank businesses that responded to the Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey.


The reporting statistical unit for the BICS is the enterprise. The sample size for the BICS is 3,000 enterprises. The enterprise is defined as the smallest combination of legal units that is an organisational unit producing goods and/or services, which benefits from a certain degree of autonomy in decision-making.

There was a response rate of 24.9% to the fifth wave of the survey. It is important to note that the results of the survey apply to respondents only, and that no imputation or estimation procedures have been used in the case of non-response. The CSO acknowledges that not all businesses may be in a position to respond to the survey. Therefore, as the results of the survey are unweighted, they may only reflect the characteristics of those who have responded.

Enterprises of all size classes were surveyed. The sectors of economic activity included in the survey were determined in accordance with the NACE Rev. 2 classification scheme, which is the European Commission’s classification system for economic activity. The NACE Rev. 2 sectors included in the survey were as follows:

Sector B:          Mining and quarrying

Sector C:          Manufacturing

Sector D:          Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply

Sector E:          Water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities

Sector F:          Construction

Sector G:          Wholesale and retail trade; Repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles

Sector H:          Transportation and storage

Sector I:            Accommodation and food service activities

Sector J:           Information and communication

Sector K:           Financial and insurance activities

Sector L:           Real estate activities   

Sector M:          Professional, scientific and technical activities

Sector N:          Administrative and support service activities

Sector R:          Arts, entertainment and recreation

Sector S:          Other service activities

Please note that some more granular NACE Rev. 2 descriptions were also referenced in the text of this release. For further information on the NACE Rev. 2 classification scheme, please click Classifications

Data Collection and Questionnaire

The survey is collected via an online questionnaire. The topics covered are about how the COVID-19 crisis has affected business and what steps have been taken as a result – e.g. in relation to the level of business, workforce and organisational changes, access to finance, and availing of Government support schemes.

The following is a link to the questionnaire for each wave of the BICS survey:Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey

Output Classifications - Definitions

Size Class

For the BICS, the size class of an enterprise is determined by the number of persons engaged associated with the enterprise as follows:

Size Class  Number of Persons Engaged
Micro  0 - 9
Small  10 - 49
Medium  50 - 249
SMEs  0 - 249
Large  250+

A Small or Medium Enterprise (SME) is an amalgamation of the Micro, Small and Medium categories, i.e. having 0-249 persons engaged.


In the above results, there are cases where several NACE Rev. 2 categories are presented in aggregate form as follows:

Sector    NACE Rev. 2 Category
Industry  B-E
Construction    F
Wholesale and Retail  G
Services  H-N, R-S
Office-based J-N
Non-office-based B-I, R-S

Note: Some of the data presenting in the release separate Accommodation and Food Services (NACE I) from Services.


Other Breakdowns 

Many of the breakdowns in this release are based on the enterprise’s own best estimate at a point in time. The qualitative nature of these breakdowns has been chosen to limit burden on respondents.