While the German economy is unlikely to grow in 2020, the digital industry is forecast to grow significantly.
The industry association Bitkom announced on Tuesday that the market for IT products, telecommunications and consumer electronics is expected to grow by 1.5 percent to 172.2 billion euros this year. The number of jobs in this segment will increase by 39,000 jobs in 2020, exceeding the 1.2 million threshold for the first time.
“The business situation is very good, significantly better than in the overall economy,” said Bitkom President Achim Berg. In international comparison, however, Germany continues to lose ground. “China, India and the USA are setting the pace here.” Sales of information and communication technology (IT) are growing by 6.1 percent in China, 5.5 percent in India and in the world’s largest market, the USA still 3.2 percent.
The shortage of skilled workers is slowing growth in Germany, among other things. At the end of 2019, a total of 124,000 positions for IT experts were vacant, according to Bitkom’s calculations; at the end of 2018, only 82,000 specialists were missing. In this context, Berg appealed to facilitate the influx of foreign experts. “In our industry, you don’t necessarily have to have a good knowledge of German, it’s perfectly okay to speak English.”
Two segments are falling behind in the growing IT market. Consumer electronics sales shrink by 7 percent. IT hardware sales fell slightly by 0.4 percent. The growth segment is the software segment (plus 6.4 percent), followed by telecommunications end devices (plus 2.5 percent) and IT services (plus 2.3 percent).
In order not to lose any more ground internationally, Germany should invest more in training and further education, demanded Berg. In addition, Germany must create the best digital infrastructure in communication, traffic and energy. In the state and administration, work processes would have to be created digitally from scratch.