Turnover in the services sector (according to VAT returns)

Turnover in the services sector in the fourth quarter 2022

Economic indicators
Turnover in the services sector in the fourth quarter 2022

The turnover of almost all sectors monitored in this statistic increased in the fourth quarter of 2022 compared to the same period the year before. The largest turnover increase was registered in the sector ‘H50 Water transport’ (+40%) and is due to an increased activity as well as an increase in sales prices. In most of the other sectors, all enterprises were fully active in the fourth quarter of 2022, while they were still suffering from the COVID-19 crisis in the fourth quarter of 2021. This was particularly true for air transport. Consequently, it is in that sector that the second largest increase in turnover is recorded (+33%). For some sectors, the increase in turnover is also partly due to the high inflation (increase in sales prices) such as in ‘G45 Wholesale and retail trade and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles’ (+23%) and in energy-intensive sectors such as transportation (+21% in H49). The turnover decreased in two sectors, i.e. ‘H53 Postal and courier activities’ (-6%) and ‘J58 Publishing activities’ (-2%). The decrease in turnover in the sector of postal and courier activities is due to a decrease in the volume of sales in retail trade in the fourth quarter of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021.

This statistic gives the turnover indices for a number of sectors specified by Eurostat: the wholesale trade and a number of services such as transport, accommodation and food service activities, ICT, advertising and market research. The sectors are divided according to the 2008 NACE classification and Eurostat's specifications. Consequently, indices are also available for some subsectors at a more detailed level (e.g. G46) and other subsectors are brought together (e.g. M69 and M702). The indices per year give an overview of the evolution of the turnover for a particular sector during the last few years. The reference year is 2015. The quarterly indices reflect the evolution during a given year and can also be used to make year-on-year comparisons of a particular quarter. This way, they make it possible to detect cyclical changes. These indices are gross indices, but the user can create himself a table also showing the seasonally adjusted indices and the trend. The figures of the last 2 years should always be considered as provisional and can still be revised due to late VAT returns and/or derogations.


Turnover index for the services sector (NACE 2008) according to VAT returns, last 5 years (base year = 2015)

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Purpose and brief description

Turnover includes all amounts (excluding VAT) that correspond to the sale of goods and services by the VAT payer to third parties in Belgium or abroad.


VAT-registered units, of the following NACE codes (nomenclature NACE 2008): divisions 45 and 46 and sections H to N.



Release calendar

Results available 2 months after the reference period.


Gross index (Turnover according to the VAT returns): An index shows the evolution of a variable with regard to its value during the initial period, which is called the base period (in general, the base period corresponds to one year).

Trend (Turnover according to VAT returns); The trend shows the underlying level of the original series, taking into account its long-term evolution.

Seasonally-adjusted index (Turnover according to the VAT returns): A seasonally-adjusted index takes into account the trend and the 'irregular component' (see below) of the original series, but not the seasonal and calendar effects. Seasonal effects are effects that are directly caused by the seasons or that arise from them through social customs. Calendar effects are effects that are caused by differences in the number of days per period, because of variable public holidays (e.g. Easter) or the occurrence or non-occurrence of a leap year.

Irregular component: The 'irregular component' is the part of the series that cannot be explained by the seasonal component and the trend and thus corresponds to unforeseen shocks (e.g. extreme weather phenomena, strikes).