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Press release More process and product innovations in Germany than the EU average

At least every third company develops new products – or further develops existing ones

More than every third company (36%) developed new products, imitated innovations from competitors, or further developed their own products between 2018 and 2020. While the majority (63%) of companies with more than 250 employees did so, only every third small enterprise and 44% of medium-sized enterprises-initiated product innovations. In an EU-comparison, German companies, both overall and within each size category, generate product innovations more frequently than companies on average across the EU.

A higher level of innovation activity is evident regarding process innovations: more than every second company (56%) introduced process innovations during the three-year period from 2018 to 2020 – among medium-sized enterprises (50-249 employees) even two out of three. Compared to the EU average, enterprises in Germany conducted process innovations more frequently.

In manufacturing, almost every company with more than 250 employees (90%) implemented process innovations between 2018 and 2020. For small and medium-sized enterprises in this sector, the corresponding figure amounted to 58%. Product innovations were initiated by a total of 37% of companies in manufacturing – including more than every third SME (35%) and two-thirds of large enterprises (67%).

The researchers at IfM Bonn regularly calculate innovation activities based on the Community Innovation Survey (CIS) for large as well as small and medium-sized enterprises. A company is considered innovative if it has introduced a product or process innovation within a preceding three-year period.