Survey Information - Retail and Wholesale Economic Activity


Have you received a form for this survey? Click here for more information.

About this survey

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will conduct a survey on the Retail and Wholesale industries in respect of 2005-06, which will form part of the current ABS program of annual industry surveys. This document outlines the objectives of the survey and provides background information. Detailed retail and wholesale industry data were last collected in respect of 1998-99, for which data was released in Retail Industry, Australia, 1998-99 (cat. no. 8622.0), Retail Industry, Australia: Commodity Sales, 1998-99 (cat. no. 8624.0) and Wholesale Industry, Australia, 1998-99 (cat. no. 8638.0).

Objectives of the survey

The main purpose of the survey is to measure the size and structure of the Retail and Wholesale industries, and to provide updated benchmarks for statistical use, especially for Australia's National Accounts. The information will be used by government policy makers, particularly Commonwealth and State and Territory governments for their policies and programs, as well as by private sector analysts.

Statistical output

The outputs from the survey are expected to include:

    • Key financial aggregates including commodity sales dissected by industry class, based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC);
    • Business counts, employment and income dissected by state and business size;
    • Income and expenses dissected by major components (eg: retail and wholesale sales, wages and salaries and purchases);
    • Commodity sales and gross margins; and
    • Selected performance indicators (eg: operating profit before tax and operating profit margin).

Scope and coverage

The scope of the collection will be all employing and non-employing businesses engaged in retailing or wholesaling. The scope is based on Divisions F and G of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC).

Size of collection

The size of the sample survey is approximately 16,000 businesses. However, all units with significant retail or wholesale activity will be included with a sample taken of the smaller contributors.


The following timetable shows key dates for the survey:
    Activity Period

    Despatch of survey forms August and September 2006

    Release of output Mid 2007

Download survey results

Data will be released in the publications Retail Industry, Australia, 2005-06 (cat. no. 8622.0), Wholesale Industry, Australia, 2005-06 (cat. no. 8638.0), and several associated spreadsheets. These products will be available to download for free from this web site in mid 2007. More detailed data may be available on a customised basis on request.

If you would like to download a copy of these publications when they are released, click here.

To opt for our free email notification service, enter your email address, tick the box next to 85 & 86 Service Industries (including Tourism) and then click on Submit.


If you have received a survey form for the Retail and Wholesale Economic Activity Survey, and you have questions, eg. Is confidentiality guaranteed? Is the survey compulsory? Why does the ABS need this information? Refer to our Frequently Asked Questions page for answers to these questions and more.

Help is available

If you need more help with your survey form, you can:

Call us at...
Phone: 1800 678 770 (Freecall)
Facsimile: 1300 303 813

Write to us at...
Australian Bureau of Statistics

Economic Activity Survey
Reply Paid 76746
Sydney NSW 2000

Suggestions welcome

If you have any comments and suggestions, please provide these on the back of our survey forms. Your comments and suggestions are a valuable source of information for improvements.

Thank you

The ABS is grateful for the cooperation of respondents in returning their completed forms promptly to enable early processing and release of results from our survey collections. We look forward to your continued support.