Our figure of the month 06/2021: German IT hardware in low demand despite digitisation push – 18% drop in sales in 2020

Only foreign countries benefit with high import figures

When the Corona pandemic severely curtailed public life last spring, millions of people in Germany were forced to work, study or pass the time at home. Demand for notebooks and desktop PCs as well as peripheral devices such as webcams, headphones and gaming accessories therefore experienced an unexpected renaissance in 2020. Nevertheless, Germany's IT manufacturing sector was unable to benefit from this digitisation surge, losing around 18% in revenue for the year as a whole compared to 2019. In previous years, the industry's revenue level typically ranged between €4.2bn to €4.3bn (around €300–400m per month), whereas in 2020 it only reached just under €3.5bn. In the pandemic months of 2020, monthly sales were only around 250 million euros.
Many buyers chose foreign IT hardware for home office and homeschooling and import figures to Germany rose rapidly: Top importers from China (+13%), South Korea (+24%), Taiwan (+16%) and the USA (+14%) expanded their sales by double-digit percentages.

Manufacturers hope that it will not remain a special boom, but that digitalisation will ensure long-term growth in this sector. Against the background that home offices will be possible in many companies even after the pandemic and that digitisation will continue in educational institutions (keyword "Digitalpakt Schule"), the chances are not bad. Higher IT equipment always requires upgrades and adjustments. Whether the German sector will be able to profit from this development in the future is uncertain, given how strongly foreign competitors have positioned themselves. Opportunities open up in disruptive technological leaps, such as those experts expect in relation to quantum computers.

Other figures can be found here.

Go back