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From January to November 2018, price-adjusted production in the electronics industry increased by 2.8% year on year, while turnover including services and software rose by 3.2% to EUR 179.8 billion. Preliminary estimates suggest that it was as much as EUR 197 billion over the whole of last year. Foreign trade was crucial: from January to November, exports from the sector, including re-exports, increased by 5.4% to EUR 195.4 billion. According to estimates by the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (ZVEI), the figure was EUR 212 billion for the whole year, the fifth highest ever. However, growth in exports was only half as high as in 2017. China remained the largest customer, followed by the USA.

Dr. Klaus Mittelbach, Chairman of the ZVEI Management Board, remains cautiously optimistic for 2019: “We expect price-adjusted production in the sector will grow by 1% and revenues will break the EUR 200 billion mark.” However, Mittelbach continues, “many companies are facing big challenges”, as there is no master plan for digitization, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) or for the requirements of cyber security. In order to offer companies some guidance, the consultancy firm McKinsey has developed the “Chancenkompass Datenwirtschaft” (“Data Management Opportunity Compass”) with the support of the ZVEI.