In collaboration with Munich Strategy, BLOOM studied the state of digital transformation in the German SME-sector, also known as the “Mittelstand”. The second edition of the “Digital Pioneers” study was published in the leading German business magazine WirtschaftsWoche.
From a database containing 4,000 German companies with annual revenue between €5M and €1B, a selection of 400 candidates was made. Next to a score on revenue and EBIT growth, we assessed candidate companies on six areas of their business: marketing, online presence, online sales, customer service, and physical and digital product innovation. We determined the top 50 Digital Pioneers based on a combination of the digital and growth scores.
The ranking contains a broad mix of companies, with sectors ranging from machinery to food. While some operate a fully digital business model, more ‘traditional’ companies also have embraced digital possibilities to enhance their physical products. 2020’s ranking includes Scout24, Harro Höfliger Verpackungsmaschinen, Fleetpool, Ankerkraut and Vector Informatik.
The Digital Pioneers 2020 study again highlights that digitalisation is an important factor in corporate success, also for companies that primarily operate an offline business model.
The main take-aways of this year’s study are:
- The analysis shows a strong correlation between digital and economic performance: the study again highlights that digitalisation is an important factor for corporate success, also for companies that primarily operate an offline business model.
- Although there is a group of digital natives start-ups, older and more traditional “Mittelstand” companies form the majority of the ranking, showing that digital transformation is fully underway in the German SME sector.
- The ranking includes a wide range of companies, but is dominated by technology-driven sectors Technology (13), IT Systems and Components (10), and Machine and Plant manufacturing (8).
- Digital Pioneers are mostly located in or around the larger cities, such as Berlin, Stuttgart or Munich. These digital hubs combine the necessary infrastructure with a larger pool of technical talent.
The study highlights that digital companies are the winners of today and tomorrow. The digital performance score of Digital Pioneers is well above that of the average “Mittelstand” company, and they also outperform their peers in terms of growth and financial results.