German American Business Outlook 2020: US remains an attractive location for German companies

German companies see their position in the US as favourable. The reason is the robust economy.

German companies see their position in the US as favourable due to the robust economy.

Two figures are enough to show us how important the American market is for German companies. German companies employ around 700,000 people in the US and have invested nearly 475 billion dollars there. And the US market continues to be extremely important for German companies. This was revealed in our "German American Business Outlook 2020". 

Confidence, but ambivalent investment plans

Confidence and optimism as to the economic future are very high. 96 per cent of the companies expect further growth in the next twelve months. This optimistic outlook is based primarily on the robust state of the US economy. However, this has not translated into consistent investment plans. In fact, they are highly ambivalent. One fifth of those surveyed plan to invest more than ten million US dollars in the next three years, while more than a third plan to invest less than a million. 15 per cent have no plans to invest at all until 2023. 

Plans to expand key position

What the survey clearly shows is how important the US market is for German companies. 38 per cent of those surveyed stated that their companies in the US contributed more than 20 per cent of total revenue. For around one in five, the US subsidiaries accounted for more than half of the revenue and net income of the German parent company. And there are plans to expand this key position. Four out of five of those surveyed stated that they were planning to focus primarily on growth in their existing business segments and locations. "The survey clearly shows that the US is and shall continue to be by far the most important market for German companies," says Andreas Glunz, Head of International Business. 

Challenges of data protection and skills shortages

When asked about their future prospects, German companies were primarily concerned about the perennial issue of skills shortages. Digitalisation has created new tasks and jobs in recent years, but finding suitable staff is difficult. Andreas Glunz says, "As more than half of the companies surveyed plan to expand their workforce by at least five per cent in 2020, this could jeopardise their growth targets." To counteract the shortage of skilled workers, almost a third of the German companies surveyed offer in-house training programmes. A further challenge is protecting sensitive data, particularly in this age of advancing digitalisation which, according to the majority of the surveyed companies, is transforming all business segments beyond recognition.

You can find all of the results of the study, which was carried out together with the German American Chamber of Commerce here. 177 German companies in the US were surveyed for the study.