The 2018 edition of the EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard (the Scoreboard) comprises the 2500 companies investing the largest sums in R&D in the world in 2017/18. These companies, based in 46 countries, each invested over €25 million in R&D for a total of €736.4bn which is approximately 90% of the world's business-funded R&D. They include 577 EU companies accounting for 27% of the total, 778 US companies for 37%, 339 Japanese companies for 14%, 438 Chinese for 10% and 368 from the rest-of-the-world (RoW) for 12%.
The top 2500 Scoreboard companies invested in R&D €736.4bn in 2017/18, an increase of 8.3% with respect to the previous period. Companies also raised most financial indicators: net sales reversed the negative trend shown since 2011, increasing more than the R&D investment (9.8%); overall profits showed an impressive growth of 22.6%; capital expenditures recovered after 3 negative years (5.1%) and the number of employees continued to increase at a modest pace (2.1%).
Worldwide R&D growth was driven by the ICT services and producers sectors (13% and 11% respectively), followed by the Health sector (7.7%) while the lowest R&D performance was shown by the Industrials sector (3.3%) and by Aerospace & Defence (-4.3%).
The growth in net sales was led by oil-related companies due to the recovery of oil prices but significant increases were reported also in Automobiles, ICT industries and in the Industrials sector. The overall increase of profits was mostly due to oil-related companies but profits' growth of more than 20% were reported by ICT producers and Aerospace & Defence sectors while Health industries showed a decline in profits. The increases in Capex were observed especially in the ICT producers sector and also in oil-related companies.
The 577 companies based in the EU invested €200.1bn in R&D, an important increase in this period (5.5%) although at a lower pace than in the previous year (6.7%). The Japanese companies presented a similar R&D growth rate than their EU counterparts (5.8%) while companies based in the US and China showed a much higher R&D growth rates (9.0% and 20.0% respectively).
Worldwide an important sector shift occurred in ICT industries, mainly in ICT services that increased their R&D share from 10.8% to 14.2% but also in ICT producers (from 23.0% to 23.7%). On the other hand, sectors that underwent a decreases in R&D shares were mainly low-tech sectors and also, to a lesser extent, Industrials, Aerospace & Defence and Chemicals.
EU companies reinforced their specialisation in medium-high tech sectors, increasing significantly their R&D contribution to the global R&D of Automobiles by more than 6 percentage points. In contrast, EU companies reduced their global R&D share in ICT industries by more than 8 percentage points and to a lesser extent in low tech and Chemicals sectors.
In line with the R&D shift, the net sales of EU companies increased their global weight in Automobiles, Aerospace & Defence and Health industries while decreasing it sharply in ICT industries and to a lesser extent in low tech.