UK manufacturers' sales by product: 2018 revised results

Revised estimates for UK manufacturers' sales by product (ProdCom) for 2018.

Nid hwn yw'r datganiad diweddaraf. Gweld y datganiad diweddaraf

Email Jayne Olney

Dyddiad y datganiad:
2 December 2019

Cyhoeddiad nesaf:
To be announced

1. Main points

  • The total value of UK manufacturers' product sales was £392.6 billion in 2018, an increase of 0.8% compared with £389.3 billion in 2017.

  • Total sales within the manufacture of food products division increased the most in 2018, rising by £1.8 billion to an overall total of £72.1 billion.

  • The manufacturing of machinery and equipment not elsewhere classified division also made a notable contribution to the overall increase in sales in 2018, rising by £1.6 billion.

  • The other transport equipment division showed the largest decline in sales decreasing from £31.8 billion in 2017 to £29.5 billion in 2018.

  • Petrol vehicles over 1500cc had the largest sales of any product manufactured by UK businesses in 2018, at £22.1 billion.

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2. Total UK manufacturers' sales

Things you need to know

Data for 2017 are presented as final in this publication. Data for 2018 have been revised and will be presented as final in the 2019 edition of this release. All estimates are in current prices.

Overall picture

The total value of manufacturers product sales in the UK increased from £389.3 billion in 2017 to £392.6 billion in 2018, an increase of £3.3 billion (0.8%). With the exception of 2015, the total value of manufacturers’ product sales in the UK has been increasing annually since 2009.

Estimates for 2017 in this publication have been revised and as a result, total UK manufacturers’ product sales have been revised from £380.7 billion to £389.3 billion, an increase of £8.5 billion. The manufacture of other transport equipment industry saw the largest revision and was revised up by £2.8 billion to an overall total of £31.8 billion in 2017.

The manufacture of food products division continued to make the largest contribution to overall total UK manufacturers’ product sales contributing £72.1 billion to total product sales in 2018.

The largest decline in 2018 was in the manufacture of other transport equipment industry which fell by £2.3 billion to £29.5 billion.

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3. UK manufacturers’ product sales by industry

The manufacture of food products remained the largest division in 2018 and saw sales increase by £1.8 billion to reach an overall total of £72.1 billion, an increase of 2.6%. The increase was driven by the operation of dairies and cheesemaking industry which increased by £0.5 billion in 2018. The processing and preserving of poultry meat, and the manufacture of prepared feeds for farm animals industries also made notable contributions to the increase, both showing rises of £0.4 billion.

Growth was also seen in the manufacture of machinery and equipment not elsewhere classified division which increased by £1.6 billion to a total of £27.8 billion. This was attributed to increased sales from the manufacture of machinery for mining, quarrying and construction industry, and increased by £0.5 billion in 2018. Businesses stated global demand contributed to the increase.

Offsetting movements were seen in the manufacture of other transport equipment division which decreased by £2.3 billion (7.3%) to a level of £29.5 billion in 2018. With the exception of 2010, and more recently 2016, sales generated within this division have generally increased each year. The decline in 2018 is the largest in the time series since 2008 and can be mainly attributed to declines within the manufacture of air and spacecraft industry.

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4. Top 10 UK product sales in 2018

In this section, the top 10 products have been calculated excluding products where totals have been suppressed as the result of not meeting Office for National Statistics (ONS) standard disclosure methodology.

Combined, the top 10 products account for 17% of total UK manufacturers' product sales in 2018, and the composition has remained broadly consistent compared with 2017.

Motor vehicles with a petrol engine over 1500cc remained the product generating the largest sales in 2018 and increased from £21.3 billion in 2017 to £22.1 billion.

Diesel vehicles between 1500cc and 2500cc decreased by £3.4 billion in 2018 to a total of £6.4 billion. Evidence from businesses manufacturing diesel vehicles indicates resources are now focusing more on hybridisation and electrification of vehicles rather than petrol and diesel vehicles. This has changed the composition of the top three products in 2018 as sales for parts of all types of aircraft for civil use (£9.0 billion) exceed that of diesel vehicles between 1500cc and 2500cc in 2018. 

Two products entered the top 10 in 2018 - other structures of iron and steel (£3.4 billion) and whisky (£3.5 billion). These replace parts and accessories of vehicle bodies (£3.7 billion in 2017) and beer (£3.5 billion in 2017).

Despite not featuring in the top 10 products in 2018, interesting patterns at a product level included, sales from frozen fish fillets increasing from £87 million in 2008 to £169 million in 2018 and prepared meals based on vegetables which reached £697 million, an increase of £492 million since 2008.

Plastic sacks and bag products have steadily declined since a high in 2015 of £350 million to £185 million in 2018 coinciding with the five pence plastic bag charge in England.

Figure 3: Top 10 products, UK 2017 and 2018

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5. UK manufacturers’ product sales data

UK manufacturers' sales by product
Dataset | Released 30 June 2019
Annual estimates for UK manufacturers' sales by product covered by the ProdCom survey.

UK manufacturers' sales by product - quality indicators
Dataset | Released 30 June 2019
Annual indicators on standard errors, response rates, revisions and any product code changes for the ProdCom survey, UK.

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6. Glossary

Current prices

The price at which goods or services were either bought or sold in the market.


A division is a collection of industries relating to a specific sector within the economy.


An industry refers to a classification within a division to determine what area of the economy a business operates in or to which a group of products are classified.


The turnover of a company is the value of the goods or services sold during a particular time period.

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7. Measuring the data

Data collection and sources

ProdCom estimates are based on a sample of businesses surveyed annually. Data are collected via a paper questionnaire from a sample of approximately 21,500 businesses, covering 240 subsectors of the mining, quarrying and manufacturing industry sectors and approximately 3,800 products.

It is sometimes necessary to suppress figures for certain products to avoid disclosing information about an individual business. The ProdCom technical report describes the methods used to safeguard the information provided in confidence to us. Our commentary must also avoid disclosing information about individual businesses.

ProdCom estimates are designated as National Statistics, which means that the data are produced in compliance with the Code of Practice for Statistics.

Division detail

ProdCom has collected data from Division 8 (other mining and quarrying) since 2015, following the cancellation of the Annual Minerals Raised Inquiry (AMRI). These data are included in this bulletin; further information about the background and quality assurance is provided in Improvements in the estimation of product data for other mining and quarrying, as detailed in Section 4.

For Division 19 (coke and refined petroleum products), only one product (pitch and pitch coke, obtained from coal tar or from other mineral tars) is included. This product is located in one industry (19100: the manufacture of coke oven products) and there have been no businesses specifically classified to this industry in the ProdCom publication since 2015.

For Division 24 (the manufacture of basic metals), estimates for the manufacture of basic iron and steel, and of ferro-alloys are not included in the overall UK ProdCom sales figures or in the divisional total, as these relate to an administrative source that is disclosive. Because of disclosure issues, we have combined Divisions 11 and 12 (beverages and tobacco) to allow for estimates at this level of aggregation to be made available.

Quality and methodology

The ProdCom survey methodology is outlined in the Quality and Methodology Information report and in the ProdCom technical report. Standard errors are available for most products, to inform users of the precision of the estimates. The 2018 revised estimates are based on a response rate of 80.7%.

Detailed quality and methodology information is available from the following sources:

  • ProdCom quality indicators pack

  • ProdCom technical report

  • ProdCom Quality and Methodology Information report

All of these publications can be obtained from the related downloads section of the ProdCom background information page.

A report on ProdCom EU methodology is available from Eurostat. Eurostat also provides an annual ProdCom quality report, which contains comprehensive quality information.

What has changed in this release?

Product codes are updated most years to ensure that ProdCom product codes are aligned with the EU classification of products by industry (CPA) and in response to feedback from member states and users.

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8. Strengths and limitations

Survey background

The UK manufacturers' sales by product (ProdCom) presents annual statistics on the value and volume of products manufactured in the UK. The ProdCom statistics concern all manufactured products included in the EU ProdCom list. ProdCom differs from UK retail sales; the latter refers to the sales of goods by retail businesses, or consumer purchases.

The survey covers UK businesses active in the mining, quarrying and manufacturing sectors (Standard Industrial Classification 2007: SIC 2007 Sections B and C, Divisions 8 and 10 to 33) and does not cover recycling or energy products.


When comparing value changes over time, it is important to note that all estimates of the value of product sales are presented at current prices, meaning that they have not been adjusted for inflation. In this release, volume estimates are collected directly from businesses and are provided in units relating to that product, for example, tonnes or kilograms.

Links to other manufacturing data sources are available in Section 8. However, because of differences between sources (for example, coverages, methods or sampling) ProdCom estimates may not always match figures given in other manufacturing data sources.

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Manylion cyswllt ar gyfer y Bwletin ystadegol

Jayne Olney
Ffôn: +44 (0)1633 456291