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This release was compiled during the COVID-19 crisis. The results contained in this release reflect some of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 situation. For further information see Information Note - Implications of COVID-19 on the Quarterly National Accounts Quarter 1 2021 Final. The full series of information notes on the implications of COVID-19 on the National Accounts can be found on our Information Notes page.

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GDP increased by 5.9% in 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic

Summary Table 1 GDP and GNP Growth Rates
 20192020% change
GDP at current prices €356,526m€372,869m4.6%
GDP at constant (2019) prices €356,526m€377,444m5.9%
GNP at current prices €275,574m€282,633m2.6%
GNP at constant (2019) prices €275,574m€284,945m3.4%

Gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 5.9% in 2020 while gross national product (GNP) rose by 3.4%. These updated results are stronger than the preliminary 2020 estimates published in March 2021 which showed GDP increasing by 3.4% and GNP increasing by 0.6%. The estimates in this publication use more complete data than were available for the Q4 2020 estimates and include stronger results for the manufacturing sector and the exports of those products.

These results are compiled in accordance with the latest EU standard framework, ESA 2010. For more information on our main national accounts aggregates, including data per head of population and per person in employment, go to Main Aggregates.


Personal Consumption of Goods and ServicesNet Expenditure by Central and Local GovernmentGross Domestic Fixed Capital FormationValue of Physical Changes in StocksNet ExportsGross Domestic Product

On the Expenditure side of the accounts, exports remained strong in 2020 with growth of 9.5% recorded. Imports decreased by 7.4% largely due to lower imports of intellectual property. The result is an increase in net exports of more than €76bn in 2020 over 2019.

On the domestic side of the economy, headline investment decreased by just over 22% in 2020. This is predominantly due to a decrease in purchases of intellectual property with investment in research and development down 27% going from €137bn to €101bn. These transactions are largely GDP neutral because of an offsetting decrease in imports. Investment in dwellings fell by 5% in 2020, from €7.3bn to €6.9bn, while investment in software increased by 34% from €2.8bn to €3.8bn, both categories were strongly affected by COVID-19. For more information on investment see Capital Formation.

Personal consumption expenditure (PCE), a measure of consumer spending on goods and services, fell by 10.4% in 2020, with the largest pandemic effects impacting spending on restaurants & hotels, foreign travel, transport and spending on recreation and culture. This publication includes new enhanced personal consumption data with increased product detail, see Consumption of Personal Income.

For government consumption, net expenditure by central and local government on current goods and services rose by 10.9% in 2020 when compared to 2019, largely related to increased spending during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gross Value Added by Sector

Multinational dominated sectors performed well during 2020, with the manufacturing sector recording increases of 23% and the information and communications sector growing by 13.8%. However domestic facing sectors were more negatively affected by the pandemic, with falls in distribution, transport, hotels & restaurants of 19.3%, and falls in the construction sector of 10.2%. More information on these sectors is shown in Table 4 (Net and Gross Value Added) and in detailed NACE activity Tables 21 and 22 (Gross Value Added).

Which parts of the Economy are contributing to our growth?

Agriculture forestry and fishingIndustry (excl. construction)ConstructionDistribution, transport, hotels and restaurantsInformation and communicationFinancial and insurance activitiesReal estate activitiesProfessional, admin and support servicesPublic admin, education and healthArts, entertainment and other services

Figure 1.3 shows the contributions of each activity to growth from 2019 to 2020.

Industry, information & communication and public administration had a positive contribution to growth in 2020 while other sectors including distribution, transport, hotels & restaurants and construction had a negative effect on growth.

Modified GNI (GNI*)

Summary Table 2 GNI and Modified GNI
GNI at current prices€276,707m€283,735m
Modified GNI at current prices€215,555m€208,178m
Chain linked volume measures referenced to year 2019
GNI at constant prices€276,707m€286,059m
Modified GNI at constant prices€215,555m€208,098m

Modified Gross National Income (GNI*) at current market prices decreased from €216bn in 2019, to €208bn in 2020, or expressed as a share of GDP, from 60% to 56%. In constant prices, real GNI* has fallen by 3.5% in the year 2020. This year's accounts include the additional indicator, net national income (NNI) at constant prices. Within the National Accounts framework, the NNI indicator is an important measure of de-globalised economic activity. Between 2019 and 2020, NNI at constant prices fell by 4.3%. 

The CSO’s Modified GNI is an indicator recommended by the Economic Statistics Review Group and is designed to exclude globalisation effects that are disproportionally impacting the measurement of the Irish economy.

For more details go to Modified Gross National Income.

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