According to our latest records (as of February 2022), there are more than 5.25M companies registered in Germany. Almost half of these companies operate in the service sector. More than half of all companies are registered in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria, and Baden-Württemberg, while Berlin leads the chart among cities.
Mostly proprietorships and especially in services
Almost half of companies have a legal form of a proprietorship (49.46%), followed by corporations (32.2%), and NGOs (9.35%). The rest are entities with an unknown legal form, such as government institutions or joint ventures (10%).
Germany: Distribution of companies by legal form
|Non Profit Organization||9.35%|
|Partnership Of Unknown Type||5%|
|Local Government Body||0.37%|
The most represented industries among corporations are services (38.1%), then finance, insurance, and real estate (22.1%), and construction (8.8%). Among proprietorships, most companies operate in services (48.9%), then retail (21.5%), and construction (10.6%).
Germany: Industries with the highest number of entities registered as corporations and proprietorships
|Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate||22.1%||5.0%|
|Transportation, Communications, Electric, Gas, and Sanitary Services||5.3%||3.2%|
|Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing||1.3%||4.8%|
The most represented SIC Codes among corporations are management services (174,393), followed by real estate agents (164,819), and holding companies (149,200). Most proprietorships operate as eating places (145,677), health practitioner's offices (126,127), and business services (105,831).
SIC Codes with the highest number of companies registered as corporations and proprietorships
|Real estate agent/manager||164,819|
|Computer related services||45,711|
|Business consulting services||38,367|
|Custom computer programming||28,948|
|Health practitioner's office||126,127|
|Medical doctor's office||103,623|
|Legal services office||54,867|
75.62% of all companies registered in Germany operate in services (51.21%), retail (13.75%), and finance, insurance, and real estate (10.66%). Although only 4.32% of companies operate in manufacturing, the industry accounts for a significant portion of sales generated by all companies (27.51% of total sales). Finance, insurance, and real estate is second, with a share of 22.29%, followed by services with a share of 16.52%.
Germany: Distribution of companies by industry
|Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate||10.66%|
|Transportation, Communications, Electric, Gas, and Sanitary Services||3.5%|
|Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing||3.09%|
In terms of specific economic activities (SIC Codes), most companies operate as real estate agents (222,673; 4% of all companies). Civic, social, or fraternal associations account for 3.65%, and management services for 3.56%. A total of 31.43% of all companies registered in Germany operate in the top 10 SIC Codes.
Germany: Distribution of companies by SIC Codes
|SIC code||Number of companies||Share|
|Real estate agent/manager||222,673||4.24%|
|Health practitioners office||136,400||2.6%|
|Medical doctors office||132,530||2.52%|
|Legal services office||72,116||1.37%|
|Business consulting services||70,925||1.35%|
|Computer related services||68,864||1.31%|
|Plumbing/heating/air conditioning contractor||57,252||1.09%|
More than 1 million companies are based in the state of Nord-Westfalen. Berlin tops the city ranking.
Almost 20% of companies are registered in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The state of Bavaria is home to 966,000 companies (18.41%), while 675,000 companies are registered in Baden-Württemberg (12.86%). More than 68% of all German companies are distributed across just five states.
Germany: Distribution of companies by states
|State / Province||Number of companies||Share|
Former Soviet Bloc states Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, and Brandenburg rank lowest in total number of registered companies. These states also rank lower in total sales generated (5.6%) as well as employment (only 9.3% of all employees in Germany).
Germany: States’ sales and number of employees (from highest to lowest)
|State / Province||Sales (mil. EUR)||Share||Number of employees||Share|
In terms of the number of companies in individual cities, Berlin is a leader with 4.94% of all entities. Hamburg is second (3.05%), while Munich is third (2.54%). More than 17% of all German companies are registered in the top ten cities.
Germany: TOP 10 cities with the highest number of companies registered
|City||Number of companies||Share|
|Frankfurt am Main||64,477||1.23%|
Out of the top fifteen largest companies in terms of sales, four are automakers and three are manufacturing companies. According to our latest records (as of February 2022), at the top of the list is Volkswagen with EUR 222B a year. Annual sales generated by all of the 5.25M+ German companies are EUR 11.6T. The top 15 companies account for 11.28%.
Germany: TOP 15 companies in terms of sales
|VOLKSWAGEN AG||€ 222,884,000,000||1.91%|
|Daimler AG||€ 154,309,345,000||1.32%|
|Schwarz Beteiligungs-KG||€ 114,302,000,000||0.98%|
|Deutsche Telekom AG||€ 100,999,000,000||0.86%|
|Bayerische Motoren Werke AG||€ 98,990,000,000||0.85%|
|Robert Bosch Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung||€ 77,721,000,000||0.67%|
|Uniper Global Commodities SE||€ 77,077,700,000||0.66%|
|Deutsche Post AG||€ 66,806,000,000||0.57%|
|E.ON SE||€ 60,944,000,000||0.52%|
|INA-Holding Schaeffler GmbH & Co. KG||€ 59,981,000,000||0.51%|
|BASF SE||€ 59,149,000,000||0.51%|
|Siemens AG||€ 57,139,000,000||0.49%|
|Lidl Stiftung & Co. KG||€ 56,867,000,000||0.49%|
|AUDI AG||€ 55,680,000,000||0.48%|
|REWE-ZENTRALFINANZ eG||€ 55,374,300,000||0.47%|
|Top 15 largest companies||€ 1,318,223,345,000||11.28%|
The list of Germany’s top 15 employers includes 7 manufacturing companies, the German Railways (Deutsche Bahn AG), a telecommunication company, and chains of grocery stores. Germany’s largest employer is Volkswagen with 665,000 employees.
Germany: TOP 15 employers
|Companies||Number of employees|
|INA-Holding Schaeffler GmbH & Co. KG||320,432||0.58%|
|Deutsche Post AG||319,998||0.58%|
|Fresenius Management SE||305,706||0.55%|
|Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA||305,000||0.55%|
|Deutsche Bahn AG||249,251||0.45%|
|Deutsche Telekom AG||223,539||0.4%|
|Robert Bosch Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung||218,377||0.39%|
|Lidl Stiftung & Co. KG||193,683||0.35%|
|ZF Friedrichshafen AG||155,502||0.28%|
|Top 15 largest companies||4,120,445||7.45%|