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Overview - Mittelstand

Small and medium-sized enterprises are the engine of the German economy. This is illustrated by statistical data on the macro-economic significance of SMEs and by SME key indicators for Germany and North Rhine-Westphalia (cf. the table below). The following data are based on SME definition by the European Commission.

Please note that we currently provide only a selection of the most important statistics on our English website.

For further statistics, please refer to our German section.

Macro-economic significance of SMEs

  • In 2019, approx 3.54 million German enterprises classified as small and medium-sized enterprises, accounting for 99.3% of the total number of enterprises with turnover from goods and services and/or employees.1
  • German SMEs generated an annual turnover of approx. 2.35 bn € in 2019, which represents 32.9% of the total turnover of German enterprises.1  
  • Approx 19.24 million employees employed by SMEs in Germany in 2019, accounting for 54.7% of total employment.1
  • At the end of 2019, some 71.3% of all apprentices were trained by establishments with less than 250 employees (subject to social insurance contribution).2
  • Export turnover of German SMEs added up to approx. 214.6 bn € in 2019, accounting for 16.0% of the total German export turnover.2
  • German SMEs had a share of almost 60.6% in total net value added in Germany in 2019.2
  • Businesses with less than 250 employees spent 7.74 bn € on R&D, equal to a share of 7.9% in total R&D expenditures in the business sector in 2019.