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Services turnover index overview

From Statistics Explained

Data from August 2013. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database.

This article provides an overview of the development of the services turnover indicator in the European Union (EU), the euro area and the European Member states over recent years and describes how it is calculated. The index of turnover in (other) services is a business cycle indicator which measures the quarterly development of turnover in the European service industries with the exception of services in retail and wholesale trade for which a separate indicator exists (hence "other" services; in this article the "other" will be omitted for easier readability).

The data presented in this article are taken from European short-term statistics (STS). The data on services collected under the short-term statistics regulation encompass mainly – but not only (see below) – services consumed by businesses, therefore they are often referred to as "business services".

Figure 1: EU-28 and Euro area, Turnover in services, quarterly data, seasonally adjusted (2010=100), Source: Eurostat (sts_setu_q)
Figure 2: EU-28, Turnover in main service industries, quarterly data, seasonally adjusted, (2010=100), Source: Eurostat (sts_setu_q)
Table 1: Annual rates of change for the turnover in services (%), Source: Eurostat (sts_setugr_a)

Main statistical findings

Between 2000 and 2008 the turnover of European service industries (as covered by the STS regulation) expanded on a relatively steady growth path. A rapid decline set in after the second quarter of 2008 and within a year and a quarter the service turnover index for the EU-28 declined by almost 9  percentage points. With the last quarter of 2009 a steady recovery set in which lasted until early 2012. Since then the level of service turnover has remained almost unchanged.

Short-term statistics cover – with some exceptions – the following five service industries according to NACE Rev. 2 (NACE code in brackets): transportation and storage (H), accommodation and food services (I), information and communication services (J), professional, scientific and technical activities (M) and administrative and support services (N). The development of the turnover for these main service activities is represented in Figure 2. Transport and storage, professional, scientific and technical as well as administrative and support services show a rather similar development. They are also the biggest of the five service industries in terms of value added and therefore largely influence the development of turnover for total services. Accommodation and food services and likewise information and communication services show a steadier turnover development.

Table 1 provides a breakdown of the development (annual rates of change) of the service turnover in the Member States of the EU and also for Turkey. In 2009 all EU Member States with the exceptions of Hungary and Poland experienced a decline in services; in many countries the negative rates of change even reached double-digit level. In Estonia, Ireland, Spain, and Malta service turnover already began to decline in 2008.

Table 1 also indicates very different dynamics in the turnover development between Member States. On average the service turnover increased by around 55 % between 2000 and 2012. In Greece and Ireland the turnover in services decreased in this period. Examples of countries with a relatively low turnover growth were Malta and the Netherlands (both with an average annual growth of less than 2.0 % between 2000 and 2012). In Romania, the country with the fastest growth, the turnover index increased by more than 660 % over eleven years or 18.4 % on average. Other countries which experienced a rapid growth were Latvia (average 12.4 %), Lithuania (average 11.2 %), and Estonia (average 10.2 %).

In most countries the indicator of service turnover peaked around the third quarter of 2008 and reached a low about one year later. Afterwards service turnover in most countries recovered again relatively steadily. Many countries have already reached or even surpassed their pre-crisis levels.

Data sources, aggregation and availability

The definition of turnover is rather straightforward. It comprises basically what is invoiced by the seller. Rebates and price deductions are taken into account as well as special charges that the customer might have to pay. Turnover does not include VAT or similar deductible taxes.

Information on service turnover is most often collected by business surveys. However, quite a number of National Statistical Institutes rely on administrative sources, i.e. VAT declarations, to obtain the data. There are also cases where both methods are used; for example bigger enterprises might be asked to contribute to a survey whereas the data for smaller enterprises area collected from VAT registers.

According to the short-term statistics regulation data on service turnover have to be made available by the National Statistical Institutes at least on a quarterly basis. However, around half of the Member States collect these data (at least for some services) on a monthly basis. Not in all cases can these dates be published by Eurostat (e.g. for reasons of confidentiality). Countries for which aggregated monthly service turnover data are published are Spain, France, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Finland and the United Kingdom. European aggregates are calculated by summing up weighted national indices for individual service activities. The weights correspond to the share of the countries in the turnover of service activities in the base year.

All results for the indicator of turnover in services are published on the Eurostat website.


The turnover index for services is one of the Principal European economic indicators (PEEIs). It is one of the relatively few available indicators for services and is used to analyse business cycle trends in the service industry and as input for national accounts statistics.

Further Eurostat information


Main tables

Trade and services (t_sts_ts)
Services (t_sts_ser)
Turnover in services (teiis 700)


Trade and services (sts_ts)
Services (sts_os)
Turnover in services (sts_os_t)

Dedicated section

Methodology / Metadata

See also