TOP 50 Ranking 2021: Amazon and Ford Top-Selling U.S. Companies in Germany

Despite sales losses: Germany is viewed positively as a business location, but reforms are necessary

Frankfurt am Main, November 2, 2021 – In the corona crisis, sales growth of the TOP 50 U.S. companies in Germany declined slightly overall. Nevertheless, sectors such as retail, logistics and pharmaceuticals recorded significant growth. Overall, U.S. companies rate Germany positively, but expect the new German government to introduce significant reforms to strengthen the country as a business location. These and other results of the TOP 50 ranking and an accompanying survey are presented today by the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany (AmCham Germany) together with consulting firm Accenture. The ranking refers to the 2020 fiscal year.

Sectors such as retail and software benefited from the pandemic's digitalization boost with Amazon (No. 1: 25.93 billion euros in sales) and Microsoft (No. 6: 6.76 billion euros in sales). Companies with a focus on mobility, on the other hand, suffered from the global impact of the pandemic and resulting restrictions, including in Germany. Interrupted supply chains also led to declining sales in recent months. The acquisition of Thyssenkrupp Elevator by private equity firms Advent and Cinven brings a newcomer to the top ten companies, landing directly in third place in this year's TOP 50 ranking.

Total sales of U.S. companies down slightly, number of employees nevertheless up

The total sales of the TOP 50 U.S. companies in Germany amounted to around 189 billion euros for 2020 – around 1.4% less than in 2019 (191.7 billion euros). Among the TOP 50 U.S. companies, the number of employees increased by 0.8 percent (ca. 274,200 employees in 2019; ca. 276,500 employees in 2020). Investment in machinery and equipment has been declining since 2019. The corona pandemic exacerbated this trend, causing machinery production to slump in 2020. Five out of seven companies suffered sales losses, with only AGCO growing slightly.

The winners from the crisis: logistics and pharmaceuticals

Amazon and UPS were able to grow the most in the retail and logistics sector. Without Amazon, sales of companies in this sector would have declined by 3.2%. Companies in the pharmaceutical sector are also among the winners of the crisis. In particular, companies that manufacture laboratory equipment (Thermo Fisher and Abbott) grew last year.

Positive assessment of Germany as a business location, but reforms necessary

The 50 U.S. companies with the highest sales in Germany gave thecountry a score of 2.4 this year on a scale from 1 (very good) to 6 (dissatisfactory) (comparison 2020: score 1.9). Measures such as short-time working allowance, the rescue package for the self-employed and SMEs, extra child benefit for families, assistance for artists and creatives and bridging support for students are seen as a clear advantage in the crisis for Germany as a business location. Criticism was levelled at too little state investment and a low level of digitalization in administration.

"It is important to set the course now so that U.S. companies continue to invest in Germany as a business location. The incoming German government must develop new ideas that promote Germany's innovation and competitiveness in a sustainable and long-term manner," said Simone Menne, President of AmCham Germany. "The focus should be on climate change, digital transformation and addressing the economic and social consequences of the corona pandemic."

Recovery in 2021: Securing Germany's competitiveness

A recovery was already apparent for some sectors at the beginning of this year: Companies from the mechanical engineering, raw materials, energy and chemicals sectors in particular achieved higher sales at the beginning of 2021 compared with 2020. Consumer goods also benefited from economic easing during the pandemic. "It still remains to be seen whether  the recovery is as sustainable as it appears to be in the service and trade sectors," says Frank Riemensperger, Vice President of AmCham Germany. "The pandemic has made it clear that for lasting competitiveness, there is no way around digital transformation. The end-to-end digitalization of products and services, production and sales is a mammoth task – companies on both sides of the Atlantic must now face up to it."

Climate protection and trade promotion as most important transatlantic tasks

The TOP 50 companies see climate and environmental protection and the abolition of tariffs as the most important transatlantic issues. Half (52%) of the companies surveyed rate the U.S. government's handling of climate and environmental protection as "close to a solution." The new U.S. administration's commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement has contributed to this. The newly established transatlantic forums, such as the U.S.-German Climate and Energy Partnership and the EU-U.S. Trade & Technology Council, are taking the right path to jointly shape climate protection and transatlantic trade.

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About the TOP 50 ranking:

The TOP 50 ranking of AmCham Germany annually lists the largest US companies in Germany and subsidiaries of American parent companies with more than 50% American capital in Germany, measured by sales in the previous year. The classification criterion for sales is net sales, i.e. sales without value-added tax. The mineral oil and tobacco taxes are an exception. The information either originates directly from the companies or is based on sound estimates by AmCham Germany and the consulting firm Accenture. Companies for which no substantiated estimate is possible were not included in the ranking.

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Thomas Henneberg

Manager, Head of Membership Engagement & Events