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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 2021, approximately 3.37 million German enterprises classified as small and medium-sized enterprises, accounting for 99.3% of the total number of enterprises with sales from goods and services and/or employees.1
  • German SMEs generated an annual sales of approximately 2.44 trillion bn € in 2021, which accouts for 31.3% of the sales in Germany.1  
  • Approximately 19.0 million employees employed were by SMEs in Germany in 2021, accounting for 54% of total employment.1
  • At the end of 2021, 70.3% of all apprentices were trained by establishments with less than 250 full time employees.2
  • The export turnover of German SMEs was about 227,7 bn € in 2021, accounting for 15.9% of the total German export turnover.2
  • German SMEs contriuted almost 49.3% in total net value added in al German enterprises in 2021.2
  • Businesses with less than 250 employees spent 8.44 bn € on R&D, representing a share of 8.2% in total R&D expenditures in the business sector in 2021.


Researcher Simone Braun

+49 228 72997 65
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