Total income in the business economy, excluding financial and pharmaceutical activites, was approximately 4,300 billion ISK in 2020 compared with 4,600 billion ISK in 2019. The decrease was therefore 6.5% measured at current prices. Owners equity increased by 2.5% from 2019 and was over 3,700 billion ISK at the end of 2020.

The main changes between years, when looking at the relative increase in turnover were in aquaculture where total income increased by 35%, in construction by 10% and in retail trade by over 9%. The industries where income fell the most have in common that they have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Revenue in the tourism industries in Iceland decreased by 56% from the year 2019. The tourism industry is discussed in more detail in a special section below.

Profit according to the annual accounts in the business economy was just over 102 billion ISK in 2020 and decreased by 60% from 2019 when it was 265 billion ISK. There was a sharp turnaround in profits for companies in the tourism industry from profit of 1.4 billion ISK in 2019 to a loss of 89 billion ISK in 2020. Profits in the fisheries sector decreased by almost 40% from a profit of 52 billion ISK in 2019 to a profit of 31 billion ISK in 2020. Profits in retail trade increased between years by almost 16% and profits in 2020 were about 23 billion ISK compared with 20 billion ISK before. Profits in high-tech services rose by 8 billion ISK.

Changes in selected items in larger industries can be seen in the table below.

Total income Labour costs Net profit Equity
Industry / Industry groups20192020Change20192020Change20192020Change20192020Change
Total business economy including fisheries and excluding pharmaceuticals,
waste collection, financial and insurance activities (ÍSAT nr. 03-20, 22-37, 39-63, 68-82, 95-96)
Wholesale trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles (ÍSAT nr. 46)756.1716.2-5.28%-69.9-67.7-3.25%24.220.5-15.26%163.1173.76.50%
Retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles (ÍSAT nr. 47)483.7529.29.42%-72.9-73.00.14%19.622.715.62%138.9147.56.20%
High technology manufacturing and services (ÍSAT nr. 20, 254, 26-30, 325, 53, 58, 60-63, 72)386.4411.26.41%-128.2-134.54.94%30.425.9-14.67%389.4397.22.02%
Fisheries (ÍSAT nr. 031, 102)363.2374.23.05%-94.6-97.02.52%52.231.6-39.47%387.2419.08.21%
Tourism industries in Iceland (ÍSAT nr. 491, 4932, 4939, 501, 503, 511, 551-553, 561, 563, 771, 7721, 79, 5223, 9604)627.3278.2-55.65%-197.5-121.9-38.30%1.4-89.0 163.083.8-48.58%
Construction of buildings(ÍSAT nr. 41)251.5259.73.26%-52.2-48.4-7.36%12.516.028.31%87.9102.216.21%
Manufacture of basic metals (ÍSAT nr. 24)228.6226.8-0.79%-22.0-22.20.80%-30.0-18.6-38.02%237.1231.8-2.22%
Real estate activities (ÍSAT nr. 68)197.0204.73.96%-11.5-11.1-3.43%57.156.2-1.57%694.8752.58.31%
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply, water collection, treatment and supply (ÍSAT nr. 35-36)170.7177.33.88%-22.6-24.48.10%45.530.4-33.12%746.3779.24.41%
Wholesale and retail trade and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (ÍSAT nr. 45)164.0167.11.87%-29.7-27.2-8.42%.41.5252.63%
Manufacture of food products, excluding fish processing (ÍSAT nr. 10, án 102)152.2152.60.31%-32.9-31.5-4.13%1.41.3-12.54%46.353.114.91%
Computer related services (ÍSAT nr. 582, 62, 631)143.7151.75.57%-54.0-58.58.22%
Specialised construction activities (ÍSAT nr. 43)149.0148.1-0.60%-51.8-51.4-0.77%

Significant economic downswing in turnover of companies
Covid-19 had a major impact on tourism in Iceland and the impact is reflected in the figures for the year 2020. There was a significant economic downswing in turnover of companies. The income of passenger transport by air decreased by 120 billion ISK or 59%, the income of hotels and guesthouses decreased by 57 billion ISK or 62% and the income of rental of motor vehicles decreased by 16 billion ISK or 46%. Turnover of restaurants decreased by 21 billion ISK, from 82 billion ISK to 63 billion ISK, or by 25%

The number of employees in tourism decreased by 8,600, or 31%, and was most noticeable in the reduction of the number of employees in hotels and guesthouse industry where the number of employees decreased by 2,500 or 41%.

There was a loss in all major sectors of tourism. The loss in passenger transport by air was 35 billion ISK compared with a loss of 7 billion ISK in 2019. The loss by hotels and guesthouses was 17 billion ISK, compared with a loss of 440 million ISK in 2019, and a loss by restaurants was 3 billion ISK compared with a profit of 700 million ISK in 2019. Losses in rental of motor vehicles amounted to almost 4 billion ISK compared with a profit of one billion in 2019.

Total equity of the tourism industry in Iceland decreased by 80 billion ISK or by 50%.

Increased income in the fishing industru between years
The fishing industry increased its income between years by 11 billion or 3%. Although it needs to be considered that operations in the fisheries sector are highly dependent on changes in the exchange rate of the ISK, the exchange rate index rose by 10% between years. In comparison, the cost of using goods and raw materials increases by almost 6%. Other cost items increased less.

Profit before financial items (EBIT) remained unchanged between years and was 62 billion ISK, as in 2019. There was a considerable increase in the items covered by financial items between years, from 7 billion ISK in 2019 to 29 billion ISK in 2020. As previously stated, this change is largely due to the negative effects of exchange rate changes. This has the effect that profit according to the annual accounts decreases by over ISK 20 billion between years or 40%.

Equity in the fisheries sector increased by over 31 billion ISK between years, but the equity ratio remains almost unchanged as debt increases by over 40 billion ISK between years.

Total income of the construction industry up by almost 10 billion ISK
The total income of the construction industry was 432 billion ISK and increased by almost 10 billion ISK, or over 2%, between 2019 and 2020. The growth in income in the construction industry seems to have stabilised, but in the last three years income has almost remained the same with regard to inflation after the rapid growth in the previous years or just over 18% on average between years since 2012. There was also strong growth in the number of employees during the same period, from almost 8 thousand in 2012 to just over 14 thousand in 2018, which is about 10% growth per year. The number of employees has remained fairly stable in recent years, but fell by more than 800 employees between 2019 and 2020.

Profit before financial items (EBIT) has also been fairly stable. In the last four years, it has been around 42 billion ISK, at current prices. Profit according to the annual accounts will increase by almost 17% between years, from 24.5 billion ISK in 2019 to almost 29 billion ISK in 2020. Equity in the construction industry will also increase between years by almost 15% and the equity ratio will also increase by over 2.5 percentage points.

Loss amounted to 18 billion ISK in metal production
Total income from metal production was 228 billion ISK and decreased by 2 billion or by 1%. Loss amounted to just over 18 billion ISK compared with 30 billion ISK loss in 2019. Equity decreased by 5 billion, from 237 billion to 232 billion ISK or 2%. Long-term debt increased by 12 billion ISK or 17%.

Increased total income in high technology manufacturing and services
The total income in the high technology manufacturing and services was 411 billion ISK and increased its total income between years by 25 billion or 6.4%. Profit decreased by 4.5 billion ISK or 15%, while equity increased by 8 billion ISK or 2%. Profit before financial items increased by 6 billion ISK, while financial items also increased by 1 billion ISK.

About the data
The income statement and balance sheet statistics are compiled from corporate tax returns and were compiled from more than 34 thousand tax returns in 2020. These companies have around 112 thousand employees. Figures for 2020 are preliminary and will be updated at the next release.