ZEW has been conducting a representative firm survey on innovation activity within the German Economy every year since 1993. The Innovation Survey is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF). It is conducted in cooperation with the infas (Institute for Applied Social Sciences) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research. The Innovation Survey is the German contribution to the European Commission’s Community Innovation Surveys (CIS) coordinated by the Statistical Office of the EU (Eurostat).

The Innovation Survey yields important information on the introduction of new products, services and processes within firms, as well as expenditure on innovation and the degree of success achieved by firms through new products and services and improved processes. Furthermore, the survey gives an insight into the factors which help firms to invest in their futures, or hinder them from doing so.

The Innovation Survey is conducted annually and designed as panel survey ("Mannheim Innovation Panel" - MIP).

Annual Indicator Reports and Innovation Reports for individual sectors are available from this site.

Result tables based on CIS standards (in terms of sector and size class coverage and variable breakdowns) are available here.

Methodological reports including descriptive results are published for each survey wave and can be accessed here:

ZEW-Innovationserhebung 2020


Innovation in Germany: Is the German Economy Still on Course for Innovation?

Innovation expenditure by German companies rose again in 2019, reaching an all-time high of 176.9 billion euros. However, the increase remained slightly below expectations from the previous year. Innovation expenditure increased strongly once again, particularly in the service sector. Overall, the rise in expenditure on innovation came primarily from large companies. There has also been an increase in innovation activity. The amount of companies with continuous research and development (R&D) reached a high of 10.9 per cent. On the contrary, investments related to planned innovation projects have taken a hit. German companies recorded a decline in their turnover concerning product innovations in 2019. In total, they generated a turnover of 744 billion euros, a decrease of more than 6 per cent compared to the previous year. In the period 2017 to 2019, 46.0 per cent of companies in Germany made noticeable changes to their business models. The most frequent business model innovation involved the inclusion of new suppliers or cooperation partners. Innovation in the core area of the business model rarely occurred. Overall, the digitalisation of business models is well advanced.

About the ZEW Innovation Survey:

  • Since 1993, ZEW has been collecting data annually on the innovation behaviour in the German economy
  • The Innovation Survey is carried out on behalf of Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
  • Cooperation partners are the Institute for Applied Social Sciences (infas) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI)
  • 47 Sector Reports currently present the results of the annual innovation survey for groups of manufacturing and service industries

More issues

Based on the ZEW Innovation Surveys, a separate evaluation is carried out for 47 industrial sectors. The results are published in reports on the respective sector.

Prof. Dr. Christiane Hipp (Chairwoman), Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg

Dominik Asef, Statistisches Bundesamt

Prof. Dr. Uwe Cantner, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena

Prof. Dr. Holger Ernst, Wissenschaftliche Hochschule für Unternehmensführung Koblenz

Prof. Dr. Alexander Gerybadze, University of Hohenheim

Dr. Andreas Gontermann, Achim Seitz, Zentralverband Elektrotechnik- und Elektronikindustrie e. V.

Prof. Dr. Carolin Häussler, University of Passau

Prof. Dr. Karin Hoisl, University of Mannheim

Prof. Dr. Hanna Hottenrott, Technical University of Munich

Prof. Dr. Katrin Hussinger, University Luxembourg

Dr. Christiane Kellermann, Verband der Chemischen Industrie e. V.

Prof. Dr. Kornelius Kraft, Universität Dortmund

Dr. Gero Stenke, Wissenschaftsstatistik im Stifterverband

Prof. Dr. Thorsten Teichert, Universität Hamburg

Dr. Ralph Wiechers, Janine Heimann, VDMA e. V.