What distinguishes the digital economy

DIHK survey: How digital is the German economy?

Almost 3,500 companies nationwide took part in the survey at the end of 2020. Your answers make it clear: the extent to which you use digitization potential has improved slightly according to the self-assessment of the companies, but there are still challenges, especially with the digital infrastructure.

Status "satisfactory"

On a scale from 1 (fully developed) to 6 (little developed), the companies rate their own degree of digitization as only satisfactory (average rating: 2.9). In the previous survey in 2017, the average grade was 3.1.

According to the survey, the digital pioneer is the information and communication industry with an average rating of 2.1. In contrast, the hospitality industry (3.4), retail (3.2) and the construction industry (3.2), according to their own assessment, are in the lower range of the rating scale - not all processes can be fully digitized here either.

One reason for this is often insufficient Internet, which 35 percent of companies complain about.

But the high level of complexity involved in converting existing systems and processes (45 percent), high costs (40 percent) and a lack of time resources (38 percent) are currently making digitalization in companies more difficult.

Many companies see advantages in digitizing their own business processes - for example to advance strategic corporate development (57 percent), to reduce costs (57 percent) or to retain customers (53 percent). For 44 percent of those surveyed, the circumstances of the corona pandemic are the reason for digitizing production processes, procedures or services.

Business has future technologies in mind

In addition, the survey results show that the companies deal intensively with the topic of future technologies.

Artificial intelligence and blockchain in particular are emerging as key areas: 27 percent of companies are planning to use artificial intelligence, and 26 percent are planning to use blockchain. The technologies currently most frequently used are cloud applications (64 percent), robotics and sensors (16 percent) and the Internet of Things (18 percent).

You can find the complete survey with further details as well as a statistical appendix for download here:

IHK digitization survey 2021 (PDF, 1 MB)

Statistical Annex (PDF, 208 KB)