The economic crisis did not cut down the innovativeness of enterprises

Posted on 24 May 2012, 11:00

According to Statistics Estonia, the data of the Innovation Survey show that 56.8% of enterprises were innovative in 2010. The innovativeness of enterprises remained on the level of 2008, when the innovative enterprises accounted for 56.4%.

An enterprise was considered innovative if during the last three years it had introduced to the market a new or significantly improved product, implemented a new or significantly improved process, organisational or marketing innovation or had expenditure on activities specifically undertaken to develop and/or implement a product or process innovation.

The share of innovative enterprises, 2008–2010

Diagram: The share of innovative enterprises, 2008–2010

There is no international comparison for the year 2010 yet, but during the last survey in 2008 for the European Union the mean share of innovative enterprises equalled 52%, Germany was leading with 80% and Estonia was placed in the sixth position. There is no reason to assume that our position will substantially change with the current survey.

Some economic indicators of enterprises covered with the Innovation Survey had remarkable changes in contrast with the marginal growth of innovativeness. So the share of exports in sales turnover increased from 36% to 42% during two years, the growth rate of the same scale was observed also in the group of non-innovative enterprises. But two enterprise groups differed essentially when following the turnover per employee. For innovative enterprises this indicator climbed from 123,000 to 132,000 euro, for non-innovative ones only from 100,000 to 103,000 euro.

The Innovation Union Scoreboard published by the European Commission uses among other indicators from the Innovation Survey the share of new or significantly improved products in the turnover. This indicator grew for Estonian enterprises by two percentage points compared to 2008 – from 14% to 16% – supporting in its way the growth of export. Therewith the share of products new to enterprise market equalled 4% in 2008 as well as in 2010, the increase was based on products that were new only for the enterprise (the competitors were already selling the same products at the enterprise market).

The main unit for the Innovation Survey is an enterprise, so the textile firm with 10 employees have the same weight as Eesti Energia or Tallink. Analysing the survey results using the turnover or number of employees it turns out that the turnover of innovative enterprises account for 78% of the total turnover of enterprises covered with the survey and their employees make up 74% of the corresponding total. It has been this way in 2008 and also in 2010. The bigger the enterprise the more probably it is innovative and that explains the higher shares compared to the case where the number of enterprises is used.

The Community Innovation Survey is regularly carried out by statistical organisations of all the European Union Member States on the basis of the harmonised methodology. The Innovation Survey does not cover the sectors as a whole and is dealing with enterprises with at least 10 persons employed. In the case of industry only the construction activity was excluded from the two last surveys, as for services the following activities were included: wholesale trade, transportation and storage, information and communications (except film and TV production and broadcasting), financial and insurance activities, architectural and engineering activities, technical testing and analysis.

In 2010, the frame of the survey consisted of 1,665 industrial and 1,569 service enterprises. That was nearly 800 enterprises less than in 2008. The economic crisis thin out the number of active enterprises and reduced the number of employed persons in small enterprises below the survey limit.

Due to maintenance, Statistics Estonia’s and census websites will be temporarily unavailable on 23  April between 16:00 and 17:00. We apologize for the inconvenience.