Macro-economic significance of SMEs
99.5 % of all enterprises in Germany are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). On average, however, they are larger than SMEs in the EU’s neighbouring countries. In 2018 (most recent figures), SMEs generated around 34 % of the total turnover of companies in Germany. At the same time, they contributed 61 % of total net value added.
In 2018, approx. 3.47 million German enterprises classified as small and medium-sized enterprises, accounting for 99.5% of the total number of enterprises with turnover from goods and services and/or employees (excluding agriculture, forestry and fisheries).
They generated an annual turnover of approx. 2.40 bn € in 2018, which represents 34.4% of the total turnover of German enterprises. In total, they had a share of almost 61.1% in total net value added in Germany in 2018.
Approx. 17.77 million employees subject to social insurance contributions were employed by SMEs in Germany in 2018, accounting for 57.6% of total employment. At the end of 2018, some 81.7% of all apprentices were trained by establishments with less than 500 employees.
Export turnover of German SMEs added up to approx. 213.8 bn € in 2018, accounting for 15.9% of the total German export turnover (including agriculture, forestry and fisheries).
Businesses with less than 500 employees spent 10.4 bn € on R&D, equal to a share of 11.2% in total R&D expenditures in the business sector in 2018.