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Industry structure of the German machinery industry 2018

The industry structure of the German machinery industry is divided into three groups with different positions

The German machinery industry is regarded as a mid-sized industry. This is right compared to other industries like automobile, chemistry or steel. However, regarding the machinery industry itself, it shows three groups with very different positions.

Machine tool

Update June 21st, 2019 - The German machinery industry accounts for more than six thousand operation locations1. Their positions on the market are divided into three groups.

  • Smaller manufacturers with fewer than 100 employees coin the company landscape as they account for two thirds (63%) of all companies. These are four thousand operations.2

  • One third (31%) have between 100 und fewer than 500 employees, nearly two thousand operations.3

  • Finally large companies with 500 and more employees show only a small proportion of 6% of the companies, i.e. 387 operations.


The different positions become apparent when turnover matters.

The three groups showing strongly differing share of sales

The four thousand smaller companies constitute just one-tenth (12%) of the industry turnover. And only nearly one-fifth of all employees (17%) work here.

Industry structure of German machinery industry 2018.

The 387 large companies produce half of the turnover of the entire machinery industry (52%). Almost half of all employees (44%) work in their large production locations.


The nearly two thousand medium sized companies, which constitute 31% of all companies, generate 36% of the turnover with 39% of all employees in the machinery industry.

The differing positions of the three groups

So the medium-sized character of the machinery industry is only related to the group of the medium sized companies, whose proportions of companies, employees and turnover are relatively close together. This proximity of the three sizes signals a certain balance among the competition forces within the machinery industry and the relations of these medium-sized companies to their customers and suppliers.


The smaller companies, however, are in a strongly dependent position in the competition with the two other groups of the machinery industry and opposite their customers and suppliers.


There is the 6% of the large companies, which coin the machinery industry and often take a key position opposite their customers and suppliers.

Turnover per firm of the three groups showing strong divergencies from the average turnover

The average turnover of the industry, i.e. the turnover per manufacturer in the industry, accounts for €41.2m in 2018.

The four thousand smaller companies show an average turnover of €7.6m. This size is below the industry average by 81%.

Sales per firm in the German machinery industry 2018.

The average turnover of the 387 large companies is €354.4m, being above the industry average by almost the eight-fold.


The almost two thousand mid-sized companies show an average turnover of €48.1m, over the industry average by 17%.


All numbers from the Federal Statistical Office, Annual Report for Operations in the Manufacturing Industry 2018.

1) Excatly 6,343 operations

2) Exactly 4,003 operations

3) Exactly 1,953 operations

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