Rising number of innovating businesses

© Hollandse Hoogte
In the period 2014-2016, the number of companies implementing technological innovations rose to nearly 20 thousand, up by nearly one thousand relative to the period 2012-2014. This involves new or substantially improved products or production processes. In 2017, Dutch enterprises, institutions and the higher education sector spent 14.7 billion euros on Research & Development (R&D). This is reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) on the basis of the biennial Community Innovation Survey conducted among companies with 10 employees or more and on the basis of the annual R&D survey.

Of the Dutch companies with 10 employees or more, 38 percent were actively engaged in technological innovations. This is more or less the same as in the period 2012-2014, but the share in the period 2010-2012 was still 31 percent. The share of companies which ultimately realised technological innovations during the period 2014-2016 went up from 34 to 36 percent.

Companies1) which implemented technological innovations (%)
Bedrijven met 10 of meer werkzame personenPeriodeCompleted innovationsAborted or unfinished innovations
Total private sector2010-2012292
2012-2014344
2014-2016362
Manufacturing2010-2012464
2012-2014494
2014-2016553
1) companies with 10 employees or more

Share of innovative businesses in manufacturing rose most sharply

The share of companies implementing technological innovations increased most significantly in manufacturing, namely from 49 to 55 percent. Compared to the period 2010-2012, this share rose by as many as 9 percentage points. Three-quarters of these manufacturers innovated their product. Product innovations in the food sector include, for example, the development of margarines containing reduced amounts of saturated fat or low-fat mayonnaise. Examples in the manufacturing industry are 3D printing and the production of sustainable textiles.

Types of innovators 1), 2014-2016 (%)
Bedrijven met 10 of meer werkzame personenProduct innovations onlyBoth innovation typesProcess innovations only
Private sector363431
Manufacturing354025
Private sector excl. manufacturing363232
1) companies with 10 employees or more

Product innovations most important for manufacturing

During the period 2014-2016, companies generated on average 23 percent of their turnover from new or substantially improved products after implementing product innovations. The products were either new to the market or to the company. Manufacturers with product innovations achieved 24 percent of their turnover from new products.

Own R&D largest expenditure item in innovation

Aside from innovations, CBS has also broken down R&D expenditure by enterprises and institutions on the basis of an annual R&D survey.
In 2016, companies spent over 60 percent of their innovation expenses on their own R&D activities. Dutch enterprises, institutions and the higher education sector together spent 14.1 billion euros on own R&D. This went up to 14.7 billion euros last year. Enterprises and institutions showed the highest increase in expenditure while the higher education sector remained virtually stable.

R&D expenditure (bn euros)
SectorenEnterprisesInstitutionsHigher education
20168.2421.5964.304
2017*8.6261.6744.375
*provisional figures