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Statistical bulletin: UK Manufacturers' Sales by Product (PRODCOM) for 2011 This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 20 December 2012 Download PDF

Products of the European Community UK Intermediate Estimate for 2011 and Final Estimate for 2010

  • The intermediate estimate of the 2011 PRODCOM Survey shows that UK manufacturers’ sales in cash terms increased by 5% to £338 billion when compared with 2010.
  • The intermediate estimate has been revised downward slightly from the 2011 provisional estimate of £340 billion.
  • Of the top 10 products by sales value, listed in Table 1, six relate to the motor vehicle and aircraft industries while two are from the drinks industries (water, beer).
  • The largest sales in manufacturing in 2011 are from: Food (£61 billion, 3% increase, compared to 2010); Motor vehicles, trailers & semi-trailers (£39 billion, 5% increase); Machinery & equipment (£25 billion, 12% increase); Chemicals & chemical products (£24 billion, 6% increase) and the Fabricated metal products Divisions (£24 billion, 6% increase). Figure 2 illustrates the share of total manufacturers’ sales by division.


This release provides estimates of manufacturers’ sales by product and is commonly referred to as PRODCOM. Sales estimates are from businesses based in the UK, irrespective of the final product destination.

PRODCOM stands for PRODucts of the European COMmunity. The analysis within this bulletin and the accompanying tables reflect the most recent and comprehensive annual sales by value and volume data, based on the PRODCOM Survey for the years 2011 and 2010.

The survey has been conducted since 1993 replacing the UK’s Annual and Quarterly Sales Inquiries. A sample of approximately 21,500 UK businesses was selected for this survey from the ONS’ interdepartmental business register.

The PRODCOM Survey is carried out annually by all EU member states under EU regulation. The impetus for the PRODCOM regulation is to enable comparison and, where possible, produce a picture of emerging developments of an industry or product in a European context. Product information is also used in the UK National Accounts Supply table.

Latest data for the 27 EU members can be found on the Eurostat website. The survey is conducted across the manufacturing industries, a total of 234 industries and 3,866 products. Each business is classified to a specific manufacturing industry but can span a variety of products depending on its diversity.

Data in the accompanying tables are presented by manufacturing ‘Division’ divided into ‘Industries’, then aggregates of products and then individual products. The PRODCOM list, which is set by the European Commission, contains a comprehensive breakdown of industries. The structure of the PRODCOM codes are derived from various classification systems (detailed at 2.2) and figure 1 is an illustration of published data.

Figure 1: Depicts the hierarchy of the list,for example within the Food industry

Figure 1: Depicts the hierarchy of the list,for example within the Food industry

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UK businesses selected for the PRODCOM survey are asked to supply the value of manufactured product sales as well as non-manufacturing income, the latter being used for balancing purposes only.

Additionally businesses in approximately three quarters of the industries covered supply volume information. Sometimes data for some products cannot be reported, for example in cases where businesses are unable to report the volume in the required unit measurement, e.g. kilos opposed to the number of items.

The estimates cover products manufactured and sold within the UK and are accompanied by HMRC’s data on imports and exports, both intra (EU) and extra (non-EU). Analysis and data relating to the most recent period is published at uktradeinfo and is used by a wide range of government and international organisations. Used in conjunction with the PRODCOM data it is useful for helping businesses gauge market share and the means to establish new markets for their products. The trade data are also used in the ONS’ UK Balance of Payment account to help quantify the health of the UK

User engagement

We are constantly aiming to improve this release and its associated commentary. We would welcome any feedback you might have and would be particularly interested in knowing how you make use of these data to inform your work. Please contact us via email: or telephone Karen Woodsford on +44 (0)1633 456746

During the period 20 December 2012 to February 14 2013 the ONS are conducting a survey asking users about their use of PRODCOM data. We would be grateful if you could spare a few minutes to provide some feedback.

PRODCOM sales 2011

Table 1 shows the top 10 PRODCOM products with the highest value of sold production in 2011. The list is little changed from the 2011 provisional estimates and is quite stable when compared with 2010. Of the current top 10, nine featured in the 2010 list.

Table 1: Top 10 UK manufactured products with the highest production by value in 2011

£ billion
Product PRODCOM Code1 Value
Motor vehicles with a petrol engine > 1500 cm3 (including motor caravans of a capacity > 3000 cm3) (excluding vehicles for transporting >= 10 persons, snowmobiles, golf cars and similar vehicles) 29102230 12.1
Other medicaments of mixed or unmixed products, packaged for retail sale, not elsewhere classified 21201380 8.5
Parts for all types of aircraft excluding propellers, rotors, under carriages, for civil use 30305090 6.0
Manufacture, installation and repair of military aircraft and parts thereof 30309999 5.7
Motor vehicles with a diesel or semi-diesel engine > 1500 cm3 but <= 2500 cm3 (excluding vehicles for transporting >= 10 persons, motor caravans, snowmobiles, golf cars and similar vehicles) 29102330 5.6
Beer made from malt (excluding alcohol duty) excluding: - non-alcoholic beer - beer containing not more than 0.5% by volume of alcohol 11051000 4.0
Waters, with added sugar, other sweetening matter or flavoured, i.e. soft drinks including: - mineral and aerated)  11071930 3.7
Other structures of iron or steel 25112360 3.0
Motor vehicles with a diesel or semi-diesel engine > 2500 cm3 (excluding vehicles for transporting >= 10 persons, motor caravans, snowmobiles, golf cars and similar vehicles 29102340 The value lies between 2.9 and 3.0 billion 2
Motor vehicle parts and accessories of bodies (including cabs) 29322090 2.9

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Product relates to level 3 as specified within the PRODCOM list.
  2. The actual value has been suppressed to maintain confidentiality.

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In 2011, ‘Motor vehicle parts and accessories of bodies (including cabs)’ (ranked 11 in 2010), replaces ‘Whisky (excluding alcohol duty) (ranked 10 in 2010, ranked 12 in 2011), however there is less than £70 million between the two products in terms of estimated sales values.

Table 2 shows the top 30 product groups across the EU in 2011 and the rankings of the top 5 producers by country. In total 13 countries appear in the list with the UK appearing 20 times, however, never as a main producer. Germany appears in the top 5 for all 30 products and is the main producer for 20 out of the 30 listed products. A full copy of comparative data on share and growth distribution across the member states is available from the Eurostat website.

The five main producing countries of the top 30 product groups are also the five main producers in the EU in terms of total value of sold production - Germany, France, Italy, United Kingdom and Spain.

The products listed in table 2 relate to the Classification of Product by Activity (CPA).

Table 2: Top 5 producing countries of each of the top 30 products at CPA level by value of sold production, EU 27, 2011

CPA description  CPA code UK BE DE ES FR IE IT NL AT FI SE CZ PL
Vehicles with compression-ignition internal combustion piston engine (diesel or semi-diesel), new 291023 4   1 3 2             5  
Vehicles with spark-ignition engine of a cylinder capacity > 1500 cm3, new 291022 2 3 1   4             5  
Parts and accessories n.e.c, for motor vehicles 293230     1 5 2   3         4  
Medicaments, containing alkaloids or derivatives thereof, but not hormones or antibiotics 212013 4   2 5 1 3              
Other structures and parts of structures, plates, rods, angles, shapes and the like, of iron, steel or aluminium 251123 3   1   4   2 5          
Prepared feeds for farm animals, except lucerne meal and pellets 109110     3 2 1   5 4          
Cheese and curd 105140     3 5 2   1 4          
Safety seat belts, airbags and parts and accessories of bodies 293220 3   1 5     2         4  
Vehicles with spark-ignition engine of a cylinder capacity ≤ 1500 cm3, new 291021     1 2 5             3 4
Goods vehicles, with compression-ignition internal combustion piston engine (diesel or semi-diesel), new 291041     1 3 2   4       5    
Other non alcoholic beverages 110719 3   1 2 4       5        
Meat of swine, fresh or chilled 101112     1 2 4   3           5
Beer, except dregs from brewing 110510 2   1 3       4         5
Manufacturing services of other plastic products 222991 5   1 4 2   3            
Fresh bread 107111 3   1 4     2           5
Other parts of aircraft and spacecraft 303050 2   1 5 3   4            
Other articles of base metal n.e.c. 259929     2   3   1       5   4
Other forming services of metal 255013 4   1   2   3   5        
Turning services of metal parts 256210 3   2 4 5   1            
Acyclic hydrocarbons 201411   5 3 4 2     1          
Meat of bovine animals, fresh or chilled 101111 4   2   1 5 3            
Other prepared and preserved meat, meat offal or blood, except prepared meat and offal dishes 101315 3   1 5 2   4            
Other machining services 256220 4   2   1         5 3    
Flat rolled products of non alloy steel, of a width of ≥ 600 mm, clad, plated or coated 241051   5 1   3   2 4          
Plates, sheets, film, foil and strip, of plastics, not supported or similarly combined with other materials 222130 3   1 5 4   2            
Flat rolled products of non alloy steel, not further worked than hot rolled, of a width of ≥ 600 mm 241031 4   1   3   2 5          
Compression-ignition internal combustion piston engines for vehicles 291013 5   2   1   3       4    
Aircraft launching gear; deck-arrestors or similar gear; tyre balancing equipment; special-purpose machinery n.e.c. 289939     1       2 3   4 5    
Meat of poultry, fresh or chilled 101210 2   5 4 1   3            
Cartons, boxes and cases, of corrugated board or corrugated paperboard 172113 4   1 5 2   3            

Table source: Eurostat

Table notes:

  1. The numbers in the country columns indicate the rank of each country: e.g. for CPA 291023 Germany is the biggest producer and Czech Republic is the 5th biggest.
  2. Countries not taking any of the top 5 places are not shown.
  3. BE = Belgium, DE = Germany, ES = Spain, FR = France, IE = Ireland, IT = Italy, NL = Netherlands, AT = Austria, FI = Finland, SE = Sweden, CZ = Czech Republic and PL = Poland.

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Figure 2 shows a breakdown of sales by division, i.e. the first 2 digits of the Standard Industrial Classification.

Figure 2: Share of UK manufacturers sales by division, 2011

Figure 2: Share of UK manufacturers sales by division, 2011
Source: Office for National Statistics


  1. 10 - Food products, 29 - Motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers, 28 - Machinery and equipment n.e.c, 20 - Chemicals and chemical products, 25 - Fabricated metal products, except machinery and equipment, 30 - Other transport equipment, 22 - Rubber and plastic products, 26 - Computer, electronic and optical goods, 21 - Basic pharmaceutical products and preparations, 11 - Beverages, 33 - Repair and installation of machinery and equipment, 27 - Electrical equipment, 17 - Paper and paper products, 23 - Other non-metallic mineral products, 18 - Printing and reproduction of recorded media, X - Other manufacturing processes,

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The top 5 divisions - Food products, Motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers, Machinery and equipment n.e.c., Chemicals and chemical products and Fabricated metal products, except machinery and equipment account for approximately 70% of all UK production sales. 

Background notes

  1. Basic Quality Information

    Key issues specific to this release
    In July 2012 the UK Statistics Authority assessed the PRODCOM survey against the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. The report containing its findings was made available on the ONS website. As part of the required development and improvement to PRODCOM the ONS is now seeking views from its stakeholders and users in order to gather comprehensive feedback on the current use and any further requirements. From 20 December 2012 to 14 February 2013 a survey will be conducted, the results of which will help focus and formulate plans for 2013/2014. We would be grateful to any users of this product who are willing to complete this.

    In 2011 a review of the methodology for producing standard errors for PRODCOM identified that several changes needed to be made to the underlying calculation. The effect of this is that the standard errors (and coefficients of variation) are now slightly higher than they were previously for some of the product headings. It is therefore important to note that any increases to the quality measures (contained within the accompanying tables) compared with previous years quality measures do not necessarily represent a decrease in the quality of the estimates. It should also be noted that standard errors prior to 2009 have not been recalculated.

    An extensive revision of NACE in 2007 resulted in changes to PRODCOM estimates for the 2008 survey onwards. All industry sectors now align exactly to the NACE classification. This differs from previous years where, in some instances, the UK published PRODCOM estimates under its own Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) which only matched the NACE classification to the first four digits.

  2. Uses of the data

    This bulletin provides information on the value of UK product sales. The accompanying tables relating to this report contain sales estimates for UK based manufacturers of individual products covered by the PRODCOM survey. Most also contain the volume of production and imports and exports estimates supplied by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

    Data in the tables relating to merchanted goods, work done, waste and all other income, assist in the PRODCOM balancing process and business industrial classification.

    Each divisional report contains data for the latest three years and is presented by manufacturing division. Each division is further broken down into product group then by individual products. The latest data are available from the ONS website. Due to the switch to SIC 07 in 2008 and the change in name and format of older publications, data pre-2008 are available on request from

    EU PRODCOM survey data are regularly used in matters relating to EU anti-dumping cases providing vital product information for scrutiny during formal investigations. Increasingly the data are used in analysis relating to climate-change, for example the implications of EU climate change policy for energy intensive industries and other environmental statistics such as ONS’ review of measuring the environmental goods and services sector which utilises PRODCOM data in an aim to identifying potential ‘green’ products.

    PRODCOM outputs are required as part of the National Accounts Supply Table, an integral part of the annual Supply and Use Tables balancing process which is used to reconcile the three approaches to measuring Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross National Income (GNI).

    PRODCOM survey information is used to create a sampling frame for the Producer Prices Index, as it identifies businesses that make particular products.

    By combining PRODCOM with overseas trade data, users can derive various other statistics. For example: the trade balance, the UK net supply to the market and unit prices for production, imports and exports; all at the product level.  

  3. Methods

    A Quality and Methodology Information Report (140.2 Kb Pdf) (QMI) Report describes, in detail, the intended uses of the statistics presented in this publication, their general quality and the methods used to produce them.

    A report on PRODCOM EU methodology is also available from the Eurostat website.

  4. Common pitfalls in interpreting series

    Intra and Extra EU Imports and Exports data is collected by HMRC and is not collected by ONS. It is matched with the PRODCOM codes and included within the PRODCOM tables for the benefit of demonstrating the trade balance and UK net supply. Data are available monthly, quarterly and annually from HMRC’s Trade Statistics and vary as HMRC data collected uses a different codification.

    The sum of constituent items in tables may not always agree exactly with the totals shown due to rounding.

    The following symbols are used in the accompanying tables:

    N/A  Data not available.
    S     Suppressed as disclosive.
    S*   Suppressed as disclosive but included in the aggregated for UK Manufacturer Sales of “Other”          products aggregated for UK in the Sales and Turnover table. 
    *     Not able to provide data due to secondary disclosure, different units of measurement or other technical issues.

  5. Coverage

    Product information is available from the following Manufacturing Divisions.

    Table 3: Coverage

    Division Title
    8 Other mining and quarrying
    10 Food products
    11 Beverages
    12 Tobacco products
    13 Textiles
    14 Wearing Apparel
    15 Leather and related products
    16 Wood and of products of wood and cork (except furniture); articles of straw and plaiting materials
    17 Paper and paper products
    18 Printing and reproduction of recorded media
    19 Coke and refined petroleum products
    20 Chemicals and chemical products
    21 Basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations
    22 Rubber and plastic products
    23 Other non-metallic mineral products
    24 Basic metals
    25 Fabricated metal products (except machinery and equipment)
    26 Computer, electronic and optical equipment
    27 Electrical equipment
    28 Machinery and equipment, not elsewhere classified
    29 Motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers
    30 Other transport equipment
    31 Furniture
    32 Other manufacturing
    33 Repair and installation of machinery and equipment

    Table source: Office for National Statistics

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    The latest annual EU comparative data for PRODCOM are available from the Eurostat website.

  6. Sample Information

    The PRODCOM list is updated annually to allow for the addition and deletion of products as the market evolves; clarification of product definitions and corrections where identified.

    The survey sample is derived from ONS’ Inter-Departmental Business register. Businesses are selected by employment size and industry classification. Additional constraints are built into the sample design with a view to restricting the form filling burden on smaller businesses. Further details on sample selection are included in the QMI (140.2 Kb Pdf) .

  7. Quality

    Further to the UK PRODCOM QMI, Eurostat also produce an annual PRODCOM quality report containing comprehensive quality information based on the latest data received from all EU members.

    An EU glossary of terms can be used to interpret the technical descriptions and abbreviations used throughout the report.

  8. Quality measures

    The following information is available for each PRODCOM Commodity Code:

    •  an estimate of standard error.

    •  standard error as a percentage of the published value (the coefficient of variation).

    •  number of businesses providing data at the product level.

    •  total employment of businesses providing data for the product.

  9. Standard errors

    Standard errors are an estimate of the sampling error, which arises because an estimate is based on a survey rather than a population census. It is a measure of the precision of the estimate. A low standard error therefore indicates a precise estimate. To aid comparison and interpretation, the standard error is also expressed as a percentage of the product’s estimated total sales. This quantity is sometimes called the coefficient of variation and it allows the standard errors to be put into context.

    Standard error estimates are available for most product level value estimates. The latest data are available in the accompanying publication tables.

    Following a review in 2011, it was discovered that the code used to calculate the PRODCOM standard errors was incorrect. A change was implemented in the last set of results published January 2012.

  10. Revisions

    This is the second (Intermediate) set of data for the 2011 period. The Final estimate for 2011 will be available in December 2013.

    Provisional survey estimates are published six months following the end of the reference period; intermediate estimates 12 months after the end of the reference period and a final set of estimates 24 months following the reference period.

  11. Response rates

    The response rates reflect the response rates at the time of publication. Late and revised returns are included in the intermediate and final estimates.

    Table 4: Response rates

    Period Forms Employment 
    2011 84.2 89.5
    2010 82.1 90.0
    2009 82.1 92.0

    Table source: Office for National Statistics

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  12. Coherence

    Data collected by the Annual Minerals Raised Inquiry (AMRI) on mineral extraction are used in the PRODCOM survey to avoid duplication and to reduce the burden on business. However due to delays in the production of 2011 survey results the AMRI data has not been included in the current PRODCOM estimates. The data contained in the current publication relates to provisional estimates as produced in June 2012. Revised estimates for Division 08 will be published separately in January 2013.

    Intra and Extra EU Import and Export data are supplied by HMRC to measure the flow of goods into and out of the UK. These data are also used as part of the UK’s Balance of Payment Account to gauge the health of the UK. A recent correction to product data in the 2009 and 2010 trade data was announced by HMRC. A full copy of the report is available from the HMRC website. The two PRODCOM divisions affected by the changes were amended and republished on the ONS website.

    The Index of Production (IOP) collects total production turnover but not data about individual products manufactured. There are, however, a significant number of respondents who return only one product figure to PRODCOM and it is, in theory, possible that this information could be collected through IOP for PRODCOM.

    The Annual Business Survey (ABS) also collects total turnover plus other variables similar to the standard headings collected by PRODCOM. The feasibility therefore exists for the ABS to collect standard headings on behalf of PRODCOM. There are differences however which would create issues and this explains why this has not been progressed. For example ABS collection captures financial year-end whereas PRODCOM collects a calendar year; therefore PRODCOM would not be able meet Eurostat regulations in terms of timeliness. There would also be considerable differences in sales values for individual product headings in the smaller size-band because the ABS collect data on total sales of own manufactured products, but minimal collection on sales of individual manufactured products.

  13. Disclosure

    Statistical disclosure control methodology is applied to the PRODCOM estimates to ensure that information attributable to an individual business is not disclosed in any publication. However, to provide the most comprehensive dataset, ONS seek permission to publish data from businesses whose sales and/or volume data are deemed disclosive. Where permissions are granted the data is included in the final tables. The Code of Practice for Official Statistics sets out principles for how ONS protects data from being disclosed.

  14. Relevant links

    The scope, coverage and requirement for the PRODCOM survey are detailed in Eurostat’s PRODCOM User Guide. The interactive guide helps find statistics on UK business published by the Office for National Statistics. It covers statistics regarding the structure, content and performance of businesses across the UK, which includes measures of turnover and other financial transaction variables, employment, economic growth and productivity.

    HMRC link to information on the collection of import and export data.

  15. Future changes to PRODCOM methodology

    As part of a package of measures to improve the quality of the PRODCOM results, the current methodology and systems used in the production of the data are under review. Details of work undertaken will be published in separate articles during 2012.

    Planned articles in 2013 relate to:

    • An amendment to the method of calculation of PRODCOM Standard Errors.

    • The possibility of a bi-annual sample for the Prodcom Survey.

    • Introducing selective editing within the Prodcom Survey to reduce burden on business.

    Users will be informed of planned work and progress through future statistical bulletins and accompanying articles. Users are encouraged to feedback any comments relating to the PRODCOM output using the email

  16. ONS business statistics

    To find out about other official business statistics, and choose the right data for your needs, please use our interactive guide. This will help you to find relevant statistics published by the ONS. The guide allows you to choose the industry, feature of the economy and geography you are interested in, and returns a list of the available ONS indicators, together with guidance on their use, and links to releases.

  17. Discussing ONS business statistics online

    There is a Business and Trade Statistics community on the StatsUserNet website. StatsUserNet is the Royal Statistical Society’s new interactive site for users of official statistics. The community objectives are to promote dialogue and share information between users and producers of official business and trade statistics about the structure, content and performance of businesses within the UK. Anyone can join the discussions by registering via either of the links above.

  18. Special events

    ONS has recently published commentary, analysis and policy on 'Special Events' which may affect statistical outputs. For full details visit the Special Events page on the ONS website.

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