Commerce is a strategic sector for the Spanish economy, according to a report prepared by the Department of Economy of CEOE, at the initiative of its Committee on Competitiveness, Trade and Consumption, known as C4.

The study "The commerce sector in the Spanish economy" concludes that trade has had a notable contribution to the generation of wealth in our country over the last decades, creating stable employment and gaining competitiveness. It groups more than 760,000 companies, adds more than 11,000 million euros of investment and more than 3 million jobs.

  • The commerce sector accounts for 13.0% of the Spanish economy as a whole and represents 17.3% of the services, according to the National Accounts.
  • It is the first sector of the Spanish economy in terms of employment. Trade employed 3.2 million people in 2018, which represents 17% of the total Social Security affiliates.
  • The employment it creates is more stable than the average in the economy. 77.5% of wage earners in commerce had an indefinite contract in 2018, above the average, which is 73.2%.

  • Trade has a staff younger than the total economy. In addition, it is distributed equally between men and women, that is, with a percentage of almost 50% for both groups. This figure has hardly changed in recent years.
  • It is one of the sectors with the highest productivity gain between the years 2000 and 2018. Specifically, in this period, this index increased by 44.3% in trade, more than double the increase registered in all sectors, That was 18.6%.
  • The drag effect of trade on other sectors of the economy is very high. Taking into account the direct, indirect and induced effects, the incidence of trade on total activity and employment amounts to approximately 30% of Gross Value Added and occupation.
  • Trade is a dynamic sector of the Spanish economy in the bonanza stages and, in turn, has a less contractive behavior in the periods of recession. In fact, its contribution to GDP has only grown in recent years.
  • Trade has contributed to improving the competitiveness of the Spanish economy, given that its prices have had a less inflationary behavior than the general CPI.

Business vision of the commerce sector and comparison with Europe

  • According to the Annual Survey of Commerce, this sector is made up of 762,388 companies in Spain and its turnover of these companies reached 770,133 million euros. In addition, it is worth noting the investment carried out by trade, which rose to 11,370 million euros in 2017.
  • The weight of trade in Spain in 2018 is higher than the average of the countries of the European Union (13% of GVA in our country, compared to 11.2% in Europe) and that of the four main European economies (Germany, France , Italy and United Kingdom).
  • Spanish commerce is characterized by being more atomized than its European counterpart. Therefore, the role of small business remains very relevant. The average is 4 people employed per company in Spanish commerce (same as the service sector as a whole), with a percentage of freelancers that almost reaches 12%, compared to an average of 9.3% for the EU28 or 7.2% for all countries integrated in the EU4 (Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom). In addition, companies with less than 10 workers represent 44.6% of the total in Spain, compared with 29.1% in the EU4 and compared with 34.1% in the EU28.
  • Considering the distribution of employment according to the size of the company, there is also a notable polarization in trade between companies with less than 10 workers and the largest (250 or more busy), something that is common with the EU4 and the EU28 , although in the Spanish case he is less accused.
  • As regards the investment effort, it can be seen that that of Spanish commerce is the same as that of the whole of the EU and the EU4.

>> Report ‘The commerce sector in the Spanish economy’

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