Overview - SMEs

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 IfM Bonn's definition of SMEs.

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.

Akkordeon

  • Macro-economic significance of SMEs

    Macro-economic significance of SMEs - Tab Modul

    • Germany
    • NRW

    Macro-economic significance of SMEs - Germany

    • In 2014, approx. 3.63 million German enterprises classified as small and medium-sized enterprises, accounting for 99.6% of the total number of enterprises with turnover from goods and services and/or employees subject to social insurance contributions.
    • German SMEs generated an annual turnover of approx. 2 204 bn € in 2014, which represents 35.3% of the total turnover of German enterprises.  
    • Approx. 16.44 million employees subject to social insurance contributions were employed by SMEs in Germany in 2014, accounting for 58.5% of total employment (subject to social insurance contributions).
    • At the end of 2014, some 81.8% of all apprentices were trained by companies with less than 500 employees (subject to social insurance contribution).
    • Export turnover of German SMEs added up to approx. 201.0 bn € in 2014, accounting for 17.50% of the total German export turnover.
    • German SMEs had a share of almost 55.0% in total net value added in Germany in 2014.
    • Businesses with less than 500 employees spent 9.3 bn € on R&D, equal to a share of 12.7% in total R&D expenditures in the business sector in 2014.

    Macro-economic significance of SMEs - NRW

    • In 2014, approx. 749 900 enterprises classified as small and medium-sized enterprises in North Rhine-Westphalia, accounting for 99.5% of the total number of enterprises with turnover from goods and services and/or employees subject to social insurance contributions.
    • SMEs in North Rhine-Westphalia generated an annual turnover of approx. 480.7 bn € in 2014 which represents 34.8% of the total turnover of all enterprises subject to turnover tax in North Rhine-Westphalia (cf. Germany: 2 170.9 bn € and 37.0 % of total turnover).*
    • SMEs in North Rhine-Westphalia employed approx. 3.47 million employees subject to social insurance contributions in 2014, accounting for a share of 54.4% in total employment (subject to social insurance contributions).
    • Some 82.1% of all apprentices were trained by companies with less than 500 employees subject to social insurance contributions at the end of 2014 (and 2015).

    * Data from VAT-Statistics 2014. SME classification only by turnover size.

  • Key indicators based on SME definition by IfM Bonn

    Kennzahlen - Tab-Modul

    • Germany
    • NRW

    Key indicators - Germany

    Total1 SMEs1 SME-Share1 
    Number of enterprises
    Number of enterprises 2016
    as estimated by IfM Bonn2
    3.65 m3.64 m99.6%
    Enterprises according to
    business register 20143
    3 647 326
    3 632 22499.6%
    Enterprises liable to VAT 201443 240 221
    3 228 570
    99.6%
    Enterprise turnover   
    Turnover of enterprises
    according to business
    register 20143 (in €)
    6 234.78 bn2 203.95 bn35.3%
    Turnover of enterprises
    liable to VAT 20144 (in €)
    5 870.87 bn2 170.90 bn37.0%
    Employees/Apprentices in
    enterprises and companies
       
    Employees subject to social
    insurance contributions in
    enterprises according to
    business register 20143
    28.10 m16.44 m58.5%
    Employees subject to social
    insurance contributions in local
    units/establishments (incl.
    apprentices) (31.12.2015)6
    29.35 m23.15 m78.9%
    Apprentices in local units/
    establishments (31.12.2015)7
    1.51 m1.24 m81.8%
    Self-employed   
    Self-employed total 201584.16 m  
    thereof:
    Self-employed in liberal
    professions (01.01.2016)9
    1.34 m  
    Self-employment rate
    20158, 10
    10.3 %  
    reporting:
    Self-employed except
    agriculture 201511
    3.96 m  
    Self-employment rate
    except agriculture 201510, 11
    10.0 %  
    Economic Performance   
    Net value added of enterprises
    201412
      55.5%
    © IfM Bonn

    Notes

    Sources: Federal Statistical Office; Federal Employment Agency; Central Association of German Craft Industry and Trades; Institute for Liberal Professions Nuremberg; Calculations by IfM Bonn, 12/2016

    Key indicators - NRW

    Total1KMU1SME-Share1
    Number of enterprises   
    Number of enterprises 2016
    as estimated by IfM Bonn2
    754 000
    751 00099.5%
    Enterprises according to
    business register 20143
    753 665
    749 902
    99.5%
    Enterprises liable to VAT 20144668 608
    665 685
    99.6%
    Enterprise turnover   
    Turnover of enterprises liable
    to VAT 20144 (in €)
    1 382.6 bn480.7 bn
    34.8%
    Employees/Apprentices in
    enterprises and companies
       
    Employees subject to social
    insurance contributions in
    enterprises according to
    business register 20143
    6.37 m3.47 m54.4%
    Employees subject to social
    insurance contributions in
    enterprises according to
    business register (incl.
    apprentices) (31.12.2014)6
    6.18 m4.88 m79.0%
    Apprentices in local units/
    establishments (31.12.2014)7
    345 927284 111
    82.1%
    Self-employed   
    Self-employed total 20148816 000  
    thereof:
    Self-employed in leberal
    professions (01.01.2016)9
    259 000  
    Self-employment rate
    20158, 10
    9.8 %  
    reporting:
    Self-employed except
    agriculture 201511
    786 000  
    Self-employment rate
    except agriculture 201510, 11
    9.5 %  
     © IfM Bonn 

    Notes

     

    Sources: Federal Statistical Office; Federal Employment Agency; Institute for Liberal Professions Nuremberg; Calculations by IfM Bonn, 12/2016.

    Kennzahlen - Kontext-Modul

    Kennzahlen - Weitere Informationen

    Tables for further indicators

    Export key indicators

    Updating

    Key indicators are being updated on a regular basis. The update schedule depends on the availability of basic data from official/semi-official statistics published by statistical agencies and research institutes respectively. 

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  • Self-employment monitor

    Self-employment monitor

    Background

    After the previous publisher of the self-employment monitor, Prof. Dr. Michael-Burkhard Piorkowsky (Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelm Universität Bonn), has retired, the IfM Bonn has assumed this task and publishes this report in cooperation with the Federal statistical Office from autum/winter 2015 on a yearly basis. Based on micro-census data, the self-employment monitor analyses the current development of self-employed individuals and start-ups.

    Survey Design

    The analyses of the self-employment monitor are based on the evaluation of the entire data record of the micro-census provided by the Federal statistical Office. The calculations take the new extrapolation factor based on the 2011 census into account. The independent monitor distinguishes between self-employed individuals in a primary and exclusive employment and self-employed individuals in a secondary employment (so-called supplementary income activity). The former – the primary and exclusive employment – is furthur differentiated between full-time activity and part-time activity.

    Self-employed individuals/liberal professionals

    The researchers of IfM Bonn use the statistical data on the self-employed individuals on the basis of the micro-census, which the Federal statistical Office issues annually.

    Liberal professionals represent a specific group among the self-employed individuals. In the official statistics, this group is described inadequately due to the application of different definitions of self-employment. The statistical information as provided by IfM Bonn is mainly based on the evaluations of IFB Institut der freien Berufe.

    Self-employment monitor - Veröffentlichungen

    • New Publications
    Self-employment monitor 2014

    Suprinovič, O.; Norkina, A. (2015): Selbstständigen-Montitor 2014: Selbstständige in Deutschland 2011 bis 2014, hrsg. Institut für Mittelstandsforschung Bonn, Statistisches Bundesamt, Bonn.

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