Germany: Industrial Powerhouse

Germany: An Industrial Powerhouse

The German industrial sector is a key factor in the country’s overall economic performance, with a strong industrial core and the ability to control complex industrial value chains. Its medium and high-tech exports account for 73% of its total industrial exports. The automotive, electrical and electronic appliances, metals, petrochemicals, plastics, food and pharmaceutical industries are among the most important industrial sectors in Germany.

Many leading brands in the automotive and industrial machinery sectors are associated with the “Made in Germany” label, which has made it one of the most competitive and advanced countries on the world stage. A combination of first-class infrastructure, cutting edge research and development, fully integrated value chains in the automotive industry, and a highly skilled workforce, provides Germany with the perfect platform to develop advanced technologies that will enable it to pioneer innovation in the future global transport market.

Germany launched an industrial initiative to establish its leadership as a market leader and unique provider of the applications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. For example, Germany is the fifth largest industrial robot market in the world, and employs some 20,000 robots in various industries. Investments in Fourth Industrial Revolution Technologies are expected to reach 2.5 billion euros by 2020 and the country is focusing on investing in industrial internet technologies to improve industrial processes, reduce energy costs or improve maintenance cycles for robots.

Germany’s Leading Industries

Automotive and Aviation

The automotive industry is a driving force behind Germany´s accelerating economy, making it a primary location for innovative car manufacturers and suppliers. With aircraft production on a constant upswing, aerospace opportunities in Germany are sky-high.

Chemical Industry

As one of the largest and oldest industries in Germany, chemical products play an elemental role in Germany´s ever-growing economy. Its building blocks include new materials, energy efficient processes, and solution-driven engineering expertise.

Digital Economy

Germany has been at the top of the digital age with the maximum internet users in Europe. With 77% (63 million) of its population often online, Germany is the go-to market for e-commerce, global internet, and online gaming corporations. It is in the top 10 most internet users in the world.

Electronic & Microtechnology

The German electronics industry proudly stands in first place in terms of European semiconductor and display market size, and the “Silicon Saxony” region has shined as one of the top five semiconductor clusters worldwide.


For decades, Germany has been the global pioneer in applying renewable energies and environmental technologies. The country strives to give this world a brighter future with ambitious goals to cut CO2 emissions by 80% and increase the share of total renewable energy consumption to 60% by the year 2050.

Building Industry

Germany is widely acknowledged as a global leader in energy efficiency. Its thriving market for energy efficiency (valued at over 100 billion annually) has been created through evolutionary environmental policies, a favourable price environment, and a culture that strongly values sustainability.

Environmental Technologies

It’s not the wursts that bring investors to Germany; it’s the pioneering environmental policies and ingrained legal framework. These key assets have made environmental technologies one of the most important economic sectors in Germany and have helped establish themselves as a leading player in all green markets worldwide.

Information Technologies

Germany’s ICT market is the largest in Europe, and for good reason. The country’s Mittelstand is both an innovative driver and extensive customer base for ICT and security solutions. “Made in Germany” is a brand that stands for quality, innovation, expertise, and excellent reputation in global markets.

Healthcare & Lifesciences

Representing Europe’s most populous country, Germany offers the largest market for Healthcare and Life Sciences products. Both market demand and location factors make it a priority for many international companies preparing for expansion to build up their footprint in Germany.

Lightweight Industries

The development and use of lightweight construction solutions is an important ingredient for the competitiveness of German industry and is a crucial part of numerous industries.

Machinery & Equipment Industry

Germany’s Machinery and Equipment (M&E) sector is the largest and strongest in Europe. The sector is dominated by small and medium-sized companies that provide customized products and small series to meet the strong demand of both domestic and international manufacturing industries.

Primary Exports

Germany shipped US$1.557 trillion worth of goods around the globe in 2018

  1. Machinery including computers: US$271.7 billion (17.5% of total exports)
  2. Vehicles: $263.7 billion (16.9%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: $163.8 billion (10.5%)
  4. Pharmaceuticals: $96.8 billion (6.2%)
  5. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $80 billion (5.1%)
  6. Plastics, plastic articles: $68.1 billion (4.4%)
  7. Aircraft, spacecraft: $41.4 billion (2.7%)
  8. Articles of iron or steel: $33.6 billion (2.2%)
  9. Mineral fuels including oil: $33.4 billion (2.1%)
  10. Iron, steel: $29.2 billion (1.9%)

Primary Imports

Germany imported US$1.287 trillion worth of goods from around the globe in 2018

  1. Machinery including computers: US$165.5 billion (12.9% of total imports)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: $159.1 billion (12.4%)
  3. Vehicles: $131.1 billion (10.2%)
  4. Mineral fuels including oil: $117.9 billion (9.2%)
  5. Pharmaceuticals: $57.9 billion (4.5%)
  6. Plastics, plastic articles: $49 billion (3.8%)
  7. Organic chemicals: $46.4 billion (3.6%)
  8. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $44.2 billion (3.4%)
  9. Iron, steel: $33.3 billion (2.6%)
  10. Articles of iron or steel: $25.6 billion (2%)

Leading Trade Partners

Countries that imported the most German shipments by dollar value during 2018

  1. United States: US$134 billion (8.6% of total German exports)
  2. France: $124.4 billion (8%)
  3. China: $109.9 billion (7.1%)
  4. Netherlands: $99.8 billion (6.4%)
  5. United Kingdom: $96.8 billion (6.2%)
  6. Italy: $82.6 billion (5.3%)
  7. Austria: $75.2 billion (4.8%)
  8. Poland: $74.7 billion (4.8%)
  9. Switzerland: $64.3 billion (4.1%)
  10. Spain: $52.4 billion (3.4%)
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