ICT sector growing faster than the economy

© Hollandse Hoogte / Frank Muller / Zorginbeeld
In 2018, ICT companies showed stronger growth in gross value added than the Dutch economy as a whole compared to the previous year. Gross value added in the ICT sector grew by 5.2 percent, while the overall economy recorded 2.3 percent growth. The number of ICT companies increased further, as did the number of ICT professionals. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) in this year’s edition of the annual publication ‘ICT, knowledge and the economy’ (Dutch only).

Gross value added
jaarICT sector (year-on-year % change)Dutch economy (year-on-year % change)

The Dutch ICT sector can be broken down into three subsectors: ICT manufacturing, wholesale of ICT equipment and ICT services. In 2018, the ICT manufacturing sector saw the largest year-on-year increase in value added: 9.9 percent (volume). A small number of multinationals determine the picture of the Dutch ICT manufacturing industry.

The value added of ICT services rose by 5.4 percent, while wholesale of ICT equipment recorded 2.4 growth.

Value of ICT imports and exports is declining

In 2018, the Netherlands imported 61.2 billion euros worth of ICT goods and services. This 1 percent less than in 2017, when these imports still amounted to 61.8 billion euros.

In 2018, exports of ICT-related goods and services (including re-exports) stood at 74.6 billion euros, 1.1 percent less than in the previous year (75.4 billion euros).

The above-mentioned amounts of imported and exported ICT goods and services are given at current prices and have not been adjusted for price developments.

Share of re-exports in ICT exports rising

Nearly half of all Dutch ICT exports in 2018 were re-exports (35.3 billion euros or 47.3 percent). These concern ICT goods or services destined for use or consumption abroad. This share is rising. In 2017, the Netherlands realised a value of almost 34.1 billion euros in ICT re-exports, equivalent to 45.2 percent of total ICT exports.

However, the share of ICT goods and services in total Dutch re-exports has declined in recent years. In 2015, these accounted for 16.2 percent. This share dropped to 14.4 percent in 2018.

ICT exports
JaarICT re-exports (%)ICT goods (%)ICT services (%)

Number of ICT companies continues to rise

In Q4 2019, the Dutch ICT sector comprised over 81 thousand companies. This is 53 percent more than in 2009. The total number of companies in the Netherlands grew slightly less rapidly in this period: by 51 percent. Most companies in the ICT sector operate as ICT service providers. At the end of 2019, their number stood at nearly 75 thousand. In addition, there were 5,400 ICT wholesale companies and 945 ICT manufacturing companies.

The increase in the number of ICT companies is almost exclusively on account of the continuous expansion of the ICT sector. Collectively, ICT companies accounted for 4.4 percent of the entire Dutch enterprise population. This share has been fairly stable since 2009.

ICT companies, Q4
Jaarta;ICT services (x 1,000)ICT wholesale (x 1,000)ICT manufacturing (x 1,000)
**Revised provisional figures.

Number of ICT professionals increasing again

Not only the number of companies but also the number of professionals in the ICT sector is rising. Last year, 452 thousand ICT professionals were employed in various sectors of the Dutch economy, nearly 9 percent more than in the previous year. Almost 6 in 10 of them were engaged in software and application development and analysis. A total of 5 percent of the active labour force were working in ICT in 2019.

Nearly three-quarters of ICT professionals were in permanent employment. This represents a year-on-year increase of more than 10 percent. The number of self-employed ICT professionals rose from 61 thousand in 2018 to 66 thousand last year. The number of ICT professionals with a flexible employment relationship went up by 1,000 to 52 thousand.

Employed ICT professionals
JarenPermanent employment relationship (x 1,000)Flexible employment relationship (x 1,000)Self-employed (x 1,000)