Ahead of CeBIT: Bitkom industry begins the year with confidence

  • Three quarters of companies expect increases in revenues
  • Bitkom index is at 66 points
  • CeBIT's partner country Switzerland is in the Top 10 for most important trade partners

Hannover, 20 January 2016 - A few weeks ahead of CeBIT companies of the digital economy are feeling optimistic. Three quarters of the companies (74 per cent) expect an increase in revenues for the first half of the year compared to the first half of last year. Only 8 per cent expect business to decline. The Bitkom index as a result will rise to 66 points. These results from the latest Bitkom economic survey were announced today in Hanover. "The digital sector is a growth sector, equally in terms of revenue and jobs", said Bitkom CEO, Dr. Bernhard Rohleder. "However the confidence of most companies must not hide the fact that we see a large spread inside the Bitkom industries." Eight in every ten software providers (81 per cent) and IT service providers (80 per cent) expect an increase in revenue in the next six months; only 5 and 4 per cent respectively are expecting a downturn. For the manufacturers of communications technology, only six in ten (63 per cent) of companies assume an increase; every fifth (22 per cent) company on the other hand fears business will decline. The most sceptical are IT hardware providers; only every second one of them (51 per cent) believes there will be an increase in revenue; 14 per cent expect a downturn.

The overall good business expectations are also a consequence of the second half of 2015, which has been favourable to the large majority of the companies. Three quarters of the companies (73 per cent) were able to increase their revenue between July and December; only 13 per cent have reported a decline in revenue. Business was best for IT service providers and software providers in this period too. For each, 80 per cent of companies were able to increase their revenue. For providers of communications technology (56 per cent) and hardware manufacturers (51 per cent), the proportion is significantly lower.

81 per cent of all IT and telecommunications companies expect a growth in revenue for the full year of 2016; only 5 per cent are assuming a fall. These positive expectations will also have an impact on the labour market, as they have in past years. Six in ten companies (62 per cent) are planning to create additional jobs in the course of the year; only 8 per cent expect to downsize. "In the last five years ITC companies have created around 135,000 new jobs. By the turn of the year there were more than a million people employed in Bitkom industries for the first time", according to Rohleder. With this happening, it is becoming ever more difficult for the companies to find suitable applicants. 61 per cent of all companies state that the skilled workers situation is presenting an obstacle to their businesses. A year ago the proportion was 52 per cent. As a result the lack of IT experts remains far and away the greatest hindrance, significantly more so than the political framework (33 per cent) or the export demand (3 per cent).

With an eye to CeBIT (14th to 18th March), Bitkom welcomes the renewed choice of the central fair theme "d!conomy". "The digital transformation is the German economy's greatest challenge, but also its greatest opportunity from recent years. Companies absolutely have to pick up the pace with the digitisation of their businesses", said Rohleder. According to a recent Bitkom survey on the occasion of the hub conference, virtually all German companies (96 per cent) in important industries see digitisation as an opportunity for them. At the same time however, 56 per cent of the polled managers and board members from automobile manufacture, banking, media, pharmaceutical and tourism industries state that their companies are latecomers to digitisation and another 8 per cent consider themselves far behind.

In the view of Bitkom, the CeBIT partner country Switzerland shows how an economy can be digitised. "Swiss companies invest a larger proportion of their revenue in digitisation than American or German companies", Rohleder stresses. As a result he says Switzerland is also an important trade partner for digital companies. At the end of the last year Switzerland moved into the Top 10 most important export countries for IT and telecommunications products. In the first nine months of the year overall 1.08 billion euros of ITC products were exported from Germany to Switzerland; this is equivalent to a rise of 31 per cent compared to the same period the year before. "Switzerland is registering by far the strongest growth among the ten most important buyer countries for ITC products from Germany", says Rohleder. "At the CeBIT there will be the opportunity to further deepen these close commercial ties. Medium-sized companies and start-ups in particular can make new contacts with little effort at a trade fair."

Methodological note: The basis of the data is the business survey of ITC companies carried out by Bitkom Research biannually. The data on foreign trade is based on the Federal Statistical Office of Germany's own calculations of official figures.

Anja Olsok

Geschäftsführerin Bitkom Servicegesellschaft mbH
Bitkom Servicegesellschaft mbH