Retail trade

The Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) for the retail trade (NACE rev. 2)

The Economic Sentiment Indicator for the retail trade measures the retail trade’s beliefs about the economic situation. This indicator is one out of five indicators, who together make the Economic Sentiment Indicator. 

The economic sentiment indicator is a combination of indicators that indicate of what the beliefs the industry and consumer have about the state of the economy. The main finding of the survey is the sentiment indicator, which is a calculated number with the basis in weighted indicators from surveys of the four industry groups and one consumer survey. 

The sentiment indicator is therefore not a measurement of the actual numbers in the economy, but a survey about what convictions the key groups in society have about the current state of the economy and their own financial situation, both current situation and what the prospects are. 

A number does only have meaning if it is compared to historical data derived from the same question. To be able to make any conclusions about the number, the average is defined. The average can therefore be used to conclude whether the result is positive or negative. 

The survey is conducted in that way, that several firms are selected and weighted according to the number of employees, to ensure the whole industry is represented. The firms do not have to be the same for each survey, because firms can go out of business, in that case new firms are selected, to ensure the whole industry always is represented. 


The indicators for the individual surveys are the average of balances for selected questions. The indicators for the survey of the retail trade industry are calculated as an average of the balances in these three questions: 

  • How has the activity and sales of the firm been in the last 12 months? 

  • How do you estimate the size of the current stock is, compared to the usual size? 

  • How do you expect the state of activity and sales will be in the next 12 months? 



  • A balance is a calculated average from the per cent distribution of the answers to each question.  

  • Indicator: An indicator is calculated with the basis in selected balances in each individual survey. The indicator is calculated as an average of the balances. The indicator is the interval between 100 to -100.

  • Average: For the individual balances and indicators, the long-term average is calculated of the order in that way that each balance/indicator can be compared to the long-term average. 

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Note: The confidence indicator is the mean of the balances