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In 2018, said companies invested 11.4% more in R&D than in 2017, or an increase from 702 billion USD to 782 billion USD. Research intensity – the share of R&D expenditure in total sales – was the highest in 2017, at 4.5%. These are the key findings of the " Global Innovation 1000 " study on the R&D budgets of the 1,000 largest publicly traded companies conducted by Strategy& , the strategy consulting firm of PwC. R&D expenditure by the German companies evaluated rose by 6.1% from € 50.8 billion (2017) to € 53.9 billion, with the average German research intensity of 4.6% being slightly above the international average. In a global comparison, above all China (+34.4%) and European companies (+14%) have dramatically increased their R&D spending in 2018, while North American budgets have grown by only 7.8%.

As in 2017, Amazon tops the ranking ahead of Google’s parent company, Alphabet. Volkswagen comes in third, followed by Samsung and Intel in fourth and fifth place. With Daimler and Siemens, two other German companies are among the top 20. Globally, the computer and electronics sectors account for 22.5% of R&D spending, healthcare companies for 21.7% and the automotive sector for 16%. The software and Internet sectors show the greatest research intensity (14%), followed by healthcare (11.4%) and computer and electronics companies (7.3%).