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The DIGITAL Economy Index stands at 54 points in 2018 (out of 100 points; the same level as in 2017). The index is part of the “DIGITAL Economy monitoring report” which is compiled each year for the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. It maps the digitalisation status of German companies. A notable feature is the way the focus of digitalisation has shifted in the German economy: in recent years, the main progress was made in the services sector, but now industry is leading the way. The degree of digitalisation in Germany’s industrial sector has risen from 39 points in 2016 to 45 points today.

Christian Hirte, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, said: “The development of digitalisation in the industrial sector is encouraging. Improvements are particularly coming in the area of internal processes: in 2016, only 46% of industrial companies were deploying highly digitised internal processes, but the figure has risen to 58%. However, if the German economy is to stay internationally competitive, the pace and breadth of digitalisation must increase across the entire economy. There are two key issues here for the Economic Affairs Ministry: artificial intelligence and an improved transfer of research and development findings into business operations. We are working actively on both issues, with the AI masterplan, which is to be available in early December, and our transfer initiative. In many areas, Germany leads the world on research and development, and we now need to become a world leader in using digital technology.”

Nearly 7% of German firms are regarded as “digital pioneers” (81 to 100 points). Almost one third of all companies fall into the next category, “digitally advanced”. They score between 61 and 80 points. The largest number of companies - approximately 34% - are “mid-ranking” (41-60 points). More than a quarter of companies are still reluctant to go digital: 19% are “digital beginners” (21-40 points). And 8% of German firms - “digital stragglers” - have largely ignored digitalisation so far.

In addition to depicting the DIGITAL Economy Index, the report also focuses on artificial intelligence. Almost 5% of companies in Germany are already using it. 31% expect their company to be deploying AI-based solutions in ten years’ time.

Commissioned by the Economic Affairs Ministry, the DIGITAL Economy monitoring report analyses annually how digitisation is advancing in German trade and industry. The current report (short version in German) can be downloaded here (in German).