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Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits

Contains counts of actively trading businesses, rates of entry to and exit from the market sector of the economy, and rates of business survival

Reference period
July 2016 - June 2020
Released
16/02/2021

Key statistics

At June 30 2020 there were 2,422,404 actively trading businesses in the Australian economy.

 

In 2019-20 there was a:

 

  • 2.0%, or 46,651, increase in the number of businesses.
  • 14.5% entry rate, with 344,472 entries.
  • 12.5% exit rate, with 297,821 exits.

The number of actively trading businesses in this release differs from the total number of entities with an Australian Business Number (ABN).

A table of the conceptual and practical basis of counts is published in the Methodology section of this release detailing how these counts differ.

In response to COVID-19, a research paper Quarterly Counts of Australian Businesses, Experimental Estimates (8160.0.55.005) was released in October 2020. Presenting quarterly data between August 2019 and August 2020, the paper draws out the story behind changes to business counts during the first 6 months of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia.

Industry

In 2019-20 three industries accounted for more than half of the net annual increase in businesses, these were:

  • Transport, postal and warehousing
  • Professional, scientific and technical services
  • Health care and social assistance

Transport, postal and warehousing +5.5%

In 2019-20 this industry accounted for 22.3% of net annual growth in businesses.

This industry had a:

  • 5.5% increase in the number of businesses, the largest of any industry, with an increase of 10,401 to 200,741 total.
  • 24.6% entry rate, the highest of all industries, with 80.9% of entries being sole proprietors.
  • 8.5% increase in sole proprietors, which now account for 65.0% of the industry.
  • 41.8% three-year survival rate of business entries, the lowest of any industry.


The four industry classes which accounted for almost 95% of entries in this industry were:

  • Other transport services n.e.c. (ANZSIC 5299)
  • Taxi and other road transport (ANZSIC 4623)
  • Road freight transport (ANZSIC 4610)
  • Courier pick-up and delivery services (ANZSIC 5102)


In two of these industry classes, Other transport support services n.e.c and Taxi and other road transport, sole proprietors account for more than 90% of businesses.

n.e.c. = not elsewhere classified

Professional, scientific and technical services +2.5%

In 2019-20 this industry accounted for 15.9% of net annual growth in businesses.

This industry had a:

  • 2.5% increase in the number of businesses, with an increase of 7,412 to 302,122 total.
  • 15.7% entry rate, with 46,389 business entries.


The three classes that accounted for almost three-quarters of the growth in this industry were:

  • Management advice and related consulting services (ANZSIC 6962)
  • Computer system design and related services (ANZSIC 7000)
  • Engineering design and engineering consulting services (ANZSIC 6923)

Health care and social assistance +5.0%

In 2019-20 this industry accounted for 15.0% of net annual growth in businesses.

This industry had a:

  • 5.0% increase in the number of businesses, with an increase of 7,008 to 148,567 total.
  • 13.6% entry rate, with 19,229 business entries.
  • 8.6% exit rate, the second lowest of any industry.


The three classes that accounted for almost three-fifths of entries in this industry were:

  • General practice medical services (ANZSIC 8511)
  • Other allied health services (ANZSIC 8539)
  • Other social assistance services (AZNSIC 8790)

Agriculture, forestry and fishing -1.0%

In 2019-20 this industry had a:

  • 1.0% decrease in the number of businesses, the largest of four industry declines, with a decrease of 1,782 to 172,155 total.
  • 6.7% entry rate, the lowest of any industry, with 11,592 entries.
  • 7.7% exit rate, the lowest of any industry, with 13,374 exits.

 
The four classes that accounted for most of the decline in this industry were:

  • Beef cattle farming (specialised) (ANZSIC 0142)
  • Sheep farming (specialised) (ANZSIC 0141)
  • Dairy cattle farming (ANZSIC 0160)
  • Grape growing (ANZSIC 0131)


This was partially offset by increases in:

  • Other agriculture and fishing support services (ANZSIC 0529)
  • Sheep-beef cattle farming (ANZSIC 0144)
  • Grain-sheep or grain-beef cattle farming (ANZSIC 0145)

States and Territories

In 2019-20 there was a:

  • 3.8% increase in the number of businesses in Tasmania, the largest of any state/territory, with an increase of 1,500 to 40,955 total.
  • 3.0% increase in the number of businesses in Victoria, with an increase of 19,491 to 660,214 total.
  • 0.5% increase in the number of businesses in Western Australia, the lowest of any state, with an increase of 1,156 to 234,103 total.

Institutional Sector

There has been a revision to the Institutional Sector classification of some businesses since the last release of CABEE. Refer to the Technical Note for further information.

In 2019-20 households accounted for 52.3% of all businesses, the largest of any institutional sector.

There was a:

  • 2.7% increase in non-financial corporations, with an increase of 25,404 to 963,863 total.
  • 1.4% increase in households, with an increase of 17,335 to 1,267,789 total.


Almost two-thirds (64.1%) of businesses in the household institutional sector were in the following industries:

  • Agriculture, forestry and fishing
  • Construction
  • Transport, postal and warehousing
  • Rental, hiring and real estate services
  • Professional, scientific and technical services

Type of legal organisation

In 2019-20 companies had the largest net growth of any type of legal organisation, increasing by 25,678 businesses.

There was a:

  • 3.5% increase in sole proprietors, with an increase of 23,292 to 687,571 total.
  • 3.3% decrease in partnerships, with a decrease of 8,115 to 240,016 total.
  • 21.0% entry rate for sole proprietors, with 139,323 entries.

 
Five industries accounted for more than 90% of the growth in sole proprietors during 2019-20, these were:

  • Transport, postal and warehousing
  • Professional, scientific and technical services
  • Administrative and support services
  • Health care and social assistance
  • Other services

Employment size

Employment data in this section was created using an experimental point-in-time employment indicator to capture the impact of COVID-19.

The annualised employment data typically published in CABEE is available as normal in the datacubes. The experimental point-in-time employment data is available for the 2019-20 financial year in datacubes 1, 2, 8 & 10.

Refer to the Technical Note, or the About tab of the relevant datacubes, for more information.

In 2019-20 the number of employing businesses decreased by 1.0%, with more than 72,000 surviving employing businesses becoming non-employers.

There was a:

  • 12.3% decrease in businesses with 20-199 employees, with an decrease of 6,683 to 47,649 total.
  • 5.3% decrease in businesses with 200 or more employees, decreasing by 231 to 4,160 total.
  • 3.8% increase in non-employing businesses, increasing by 55,933 to 1,546,865 total.


In four of the five industry classes with the highest net growth in 2019-20, non-employing businesses accounted for more than 70% of total businesses:

  • Other transport support services n.e.c (ANZSIC 5299)
  • Non-residential property operators (ANZSIC 6712)
  • Courier pickup and delivery services (ANZSIC 5102)
  • Building and other industrial cleaning services (ANZSIC 7311)
     

Turnover size

There has been a revision to the turnover methodology since the last release of CABEE, resulting in a change to the turnover size range of some businesses. Refer to the Technical Note for more information.

This turnover data was created using annual turnover data for the four quarters ending December 2019, and does not capture the impacts of COVID-19. Refer to the Article for further information.

In 2019-20:

  • 93.0% of businesses had turnover of less than $2 million.
  • 28.4% of businesses had turnover of less than $50,000.
  • 79.8% of exits had turnover of less than $200,000.


There was a:

  • 3.3% increase in businesses with turnover between $5 million and $10 million, with an increase of 1,107 to 34,548 total.
  • 2.6% increase in businesses with turnover of $10 million or more, with an increase of 956 to 38,209 total.

 
Five industries accounted for more than 70% of growth in businesses with turnover between $5 million and $10 million, these were:

  • Construction
  • Retail trade
  • Financial and insurance services
  • Rental, hiring and real estate services
  • Professional, scientific and technical services

Interactive map

Counts of Australian businesses, including entries and exits June 2016 to June 2020 - interactive map

Interactive map

This map uses data contained in Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits, June 2015 to June 2019

How to use

  • Navigating topics: maps can be selected via the drop-down menu (mobile devices) or the tabs (larger screens).
  • Search: the search icon opens the search function. It is set to look for locations such as addresses, suburbs and postcodes contained within an SA2 or LGA.
  • Data: on each map, an SA2 or LGA region can be selected to view the underlying data. Data for all SA2s and LGAs can be found in the Data downloads section of this publication.
  • If the maps do not load successfully, please try refreshing this page.

More information

  • Local Government Area boundaries are the standard geographical areas of incorporated local government councils. Statistical Area 2 boundaries are presented according to the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS), 2016. For more information see the Statistical Geography page of the ABS website or the following: Australian Statistical Geography Standard, Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, July 2016 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.001)Australian Statistical Geography Standard, Volume 3 - Non-ABS Structures, June 2020 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.003).
  • Units in the profiled population are not included in LGA or SA2 level geography.
  • For businesses in the non-profiled population, the main business address of a business relates to the physical address where the main business activity takes place.
  • Businesses can operate in more than one geographical location and be represented by a single ABN. These are referred to as multi-location businesses. For the purposes of this release, multi-location businesses are attributed to one geographical classification to prevent double counting of businesses. The individual locations of businesses with multiple sites are not available. The issues of geocoding multi location businesses are more pronounced in counts at smaller geographies, as multi location businesses will only be attributed to a single SA2/LGA. As such, it cannot be assumed that business counts (or main industry) at each geographical level reflect all business operations within that geography.
  • Detailed data information is available in the Methodology.

Data downloads

Data files

Feedback

If you would like to provide feedback on this publication, or participate in an external user review of the annual CABEE publication in March 2021, please email: business.register@abs.gov.au.

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 8165.0.

Post-release changes

23 February 2021: An interactive map that allows users to explore business counts data at the Local Government Area (LGA) and Statistical Area 2 (SA2) geographical levels is being released today.

19 February 2021: Data cubes 10 and 11 were re-released to correct an error. This error was exclusive to these data cubes. No other data cubes have been affected.

7 September 2021: Table 15 in data cube 1 was re-released to correct an error. This error was exclusive to these data cubes. No other data cubes have been affected.