Motor and fuel retail trade statistics - NACE Rev. 1.1

From Statistics Explained

Data from January 2009. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database.

This article introduces a set of statistical articles which analyse the structure, development and characteristics of the economic activities in the motor trades sector in the European Union (EU). According to the statistical classification of economic activities in the EU (NACE Rev 1.1), this sector covers NACE Division 50, which is the wholesale, retail sale and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, as well as the retailing of automotive fuels and lubricants. Its activities are treated in more depth in two further articles:

Table 1: Motor trades (NACE Division 50). Structural profile, EU-27, 2006
Table 2: Motor trades (NACE Division 50). Structural profile: ranking of top five Member States, 2006
Map 1: Motor trades (NACE Division 50). Persons employed in motor trades (NACE Division 50) as a proportion of those employed in the non-financial business economy (NACE Sections C to I and K) (%), 2006
Figure 1: Motor trades (NACE Division 50). Evolution of main indicators, EU-27 (2000=100)
Figure 2: Motor trades (NACE Division 50). Index of turnover, EU-27 (2000=100)
Table 3: Motor trades (NACE Division 50). Share of value added and persons employed by enterprise size class, EU-27, 2006 (%)
Figure 3: Motor trades (NACE Division 50). Turnover by product, EU average, 2005 (% of total turnover for motor trades products) (1)
Figure 4: Motor trades (NACE Division 50). Employment characteristics, 2007
Table 4: Motor trades (NACE Division 50). Expenditure, productivity and profitability, EU-27, 2006
Table 5: Motor trades (NACE Division 50). Main indicators, 2006 (1)

Main statistical findings

Structural profile

There were 809.0 thousand enterprises active in the EU-27's motor trades (NACE Division 50) sector in 2006, employing 4.2 million persons, which represented 3.3 % of the non-financial business economy (NACE Sections C to I and K) workforce. The proportion of the persons employed that were paid employees (as opposed to working proprietors or unpaid family workers) in the EU-27’s motor trades sector was 82.7 %, close to the 82.2 % registered for distributive trades (NACE Section G) as a whole, but well below the 86.5 % average for the whole of the non-financial business economy. This workforce generated EUR 1.3 trillion of turnover, from which there was EUR 161.8 billion of value added (the equivalent of 2.9 % of the non-financial business economy total).

The retail sale of automotive fuel (NACE Group 50.5, see Fuel retail and service station statistics - NACE Rev. 1.1) accounted for 8.6 % of the value added in this sector and 13.4 % of turnover, while it contributed 11.8 % of the labour force. The high turnover share reflects the purely distributive nature of this activity, whereas motor vehicles and motorcycles distribution (NACE Groups 50.1 to 50.4, see Fuel retail and service station statistics - NACE Rev. 1.1) is a mixture of wholesale and retail trade, as well as repair, maintenance and other services activities.

Among the Member States with available data [1], Germany and the United Kingdom recorded the highest levels of value added and employment in 2006. Together they contributed 31.8 % of EU-27 employment and 45.4 % of EU-27 value added. However, in terms of relative shares in the value added of the non-financial business economy [2], Latvia had the largest motor trades’ sector (5.0 %), followed by Greece (4.0 %) and Lithuania (3.9 %). In employment terms [3], Lithuania and Greece were joined by Cyprus (2005) as the most specialised.

Regional specialisation can be seen in the map presented – based on the employment share of this sector in the whole non-financial business economy. Motor trades share of non-financial business economy employment was highest (at the level of detail shown in the map) in Molise (Italy), reaching 9.3 % of the non-financial business economy workforce. The next six most specialised regions, all with 6.0 % or more of their non-financial business economy workforce in motor trades, included the two regions of Brandenburg (Südwest and Nordost) in Germany and the French islands of Réunion, Guadeloupe and Martinique, as well as Guyane. The least specialised region was inner London (United Kingdom), where motor trades contributed just 0.8 % of the non-financial business economy workforce, around half the share of the three next least specialised regions – which were all in Slovakia.

Short-term statistics provide a picture of the development of the motor trades sector in the EU-27 over approximately ten years, in terms of turnover and employment indices. The annual growth rate for the EU-27's motor trades turnover index (in current prices) was never lower than 1.8 % between 1998 and 2007, and reached a high of 5.7 % in 2004 and 2006. From 2000 to 2007 the annual average turnover growth rate in motor trades was 4.8 %, slightly below the non-financial services (NACE Sections G to I and Divisions 72 and 74) average of 5.3 %, due mainly to slower growth in motor trades in the years 2005 to 2007. The index of employment for motor trades was stable or increased each year from 1998 to 2007. Motor trades averaged employment growth of 1.2 % per year during the nine years from 1998 to 2007, only just over half the 2.3 % average for non-financial services.

An analysis by enterprise size-classes shows that small and medium-sized enterprises (with less than 250 persons employed, namely SMEs) generated close to four fifths (78.8 %) of the EU-27’s motor trades value added and employed close to nine tenths (88.2 %) of the workforce in 2006. Micro and small motor trades enterprises (with between 1 and 49 persons employed) were of particular note, as these enterprises contributed close to three fifths (57.8 %) of sectoral value added in the EU-27, a proportion that was only exceeded in construction and real estate activities when considering all of the non-financial business economy NACE divisions.

Focus on motor trade products

A five-yearly analysis of turnover by product permits a more detailed analysis of motor trades, in particular distinguishing wholesale and retail motor trades, as well as other types of services. Average figures are presented on the basis of information for the 13 Member States for which data are available [4]. Retail sales accounted for a larger proportion of turnover than wholesale sales for motor vehicles, for parts and accessories, and for motorcycles. Care should be taken with the data related to sales of motor vehicles on a fee or contract basis: this was just over 5 % of the total turnover of motor trades products, but nearly all of this was recorded in Belgium suggesting a particular retail model for motor vehicles distribution in Belgium – when excluding Belgium from the average, the share of this type of sale fell to less than 1 %.

Employment characteristics

The sector showed atypical employment characteristics compared with both the other distributive trades activities and with the non-financial business economy as a whole, particularly concerning the importance of younger workers, and to a lesser extent the share of male workers.

According to Labour Force Survey data for motor trades in 2007, men represented 81.9 % of the EU-27’s workforce, 17.0 points above the corresponding share for the non-financial business economy average. The high proportion of men that were employed in the motor trades sector was apparent across all the Member States; the lowest share of 74.7 % was recorded for Slovenia.

Turning to an analysis by age, those aged between 15 and 29 were relatively over represented in motor trades compared with the non-financial business economy average in 2007: in motor trades 29.0 % of the EU-27's workforce was in this age bracket compared with 24.3 % for the non-financial business economy as a whole. As such, the motor trades sector had the third highest share of younger workers across all of the NACE divisions in the non-financial business economy, and the third lowest (50.4 %) share of workers aged 30 to 49.

Slightly more than nine tenths of all persons employed in the EU-27’s motor trade sector in 2007 worked full-time (90.5 %), above the non-financial business economy average (85.7 %). Only in six of the Member States was the incidence of full-time work lower in motor trades than the non-financial business economy average, and in all of these cases the difference was less than 1.5 percentage points.

Expenditure, productivity and profitability

The EU-27's motor trades sector recorded tangible investment to the value of EUR 22.7 billion in 2006, equivalent to 2.2 % of the tangible investment made in the whole of the non-financial business economy, less than this sector's share of value added. The investment rate (the percentage ratio of investment to value added) was 14.0 % for the motor trades sector, 4.3 percentage points below the average for the non-financial business economy.

In 2006, the share of purchases of goods and services in total operating expenditure for motor trades in the EU-27 was 92.8 %, and the corresponding share of personnel costs 7.2 %. This high share for goods and services reflects the high purchases and turnover associated with all distributive trades (NACE Section G) activities, which generally buy and resell products without transformation. To put this in perspective, the share of personnel costs in the motor trades sector was less than half the average for the non-financial business economy as a whole (16.1 %), and was the fourth lowest share among all NACE divisions in the non-financial business economy with 2005 or 2006 data available. The retail sale of automotive fuel subsector recorded a particularly low share of personnel costs, just 4.0 %, while the corresponding share for the motor vehicles and motorcycles distribution subsector was 7.7 %.

Apparent labour productivity in the EU-27’s motor trades was EUR 38.1 thousand per person employed and average personnel costs were EUR 25.6 thousand per employee. The level of both of these indicators was more than 10 % below the non-financial business economy average. When combined to produce wage-adjusted labour productivity, however, the ratio for motor trades (148.8 %) was only slightly below that for the non-financial business economy as a whole (151.1 %). The two subsectors showed quite different values for these three indicators, with the retail sale of automotive fuel recording lower apparent labour productivity, much lower average personnel costs, and therefore a higher wage-adjusted labour productivity.

The gross operating rate (the ratio of gross operating surplus to turnover) in the EU-27's motor trades sector was 5.4 % in 2006, half the average for the non-financial business economy. As such, the motor trades sector recorded the fourth lowest rate among all the non-financial business economy NACE divisions. The relatively high turnover inherent in the retail sale of automotive fuel subsector resulted in a particularly low gross operating rate of just 4.0 % for this subsector, compared with a rate of 5.6 % for the motor vehicles and motorcycles distribution subsector.

Data sources and availability

The main part of the analysis in this article is derived from structural business statistics (SBS), including core, business statistics which are disseminated regularly, as well as information compiled on a multi-yearly basis, and the latest results from development projects.

Other data sources include short-term statistics (STS) and the Labour force survey (LFS).

Context

The activities within this sector are very different in terms of the frequency of purchase of the goods and services offered. In contrast to the retail of automotive fuel, the purchase of motor vehicles is usually the result of a long-term process, the collection of information and comparison between different vehicles and different suppliers. However, retailing and repair of motor vehicles are to some extent substitutes, in that the purchase of a replacement vehicle may often be postponed, particularly in times of economic hardship.

Further Eurostat information

Publications

Main tables

Database

Dedicated section

See also

Notes

  1. Bulgaria and Poland, 2005; Malta, not available.
  2. Bulgaria, Cyprus, Poland and Romania, 2005; Malta and the Netherlands, not available.
  3. Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Poland and Romania, 2005; Malta, not available.
  4. Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Spain, France, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Austria, Portugal, Finland and Sweden.
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