Sensor and measurement technology recorded a two percent drop in revenue in 2020. For the current fiscal year, however, the industry is again expecting a much more positive development of plus nine percent revenue growth. In the past year, the industry invested ten percent less than in the previous year, the export ratio increased by ten percentage points, and the number of companies with employees on short-time work is 52 percent.
The AMA Association for Sensor and Measuring Technology e.V. (AMA) surveyed its members in January 2021 on the economic development of the past fiscal year 2020. According to its own information, the industry generated an overall decline in sales of two percent. Revenue fell in the first two quarters, but picked up again in the third and fourth quarters. The industry closed the fourth quarter with a significant increase in revenue of ten percent compared to the previous quarter.
Investments cut back
Although the sector was previously considered to be particularly investment-friendly, many investments were scaled back last year. In particular, large companies with more than 250 employees were hesitant to invest. Small and medium-sized AMA members invested more than in the previous year. Overall, the industry plans to increase investments again by eleven percent in the current year.
Industry records significant increase in exports
The industry's traditionally strong export ratio recorded a further increase. Since 2016, however, export quotas to other European countries have been declining, while the export quota to non-European countries continues to rise. Overall, the export ratio was 61 percent in 2020. The export ratio to other European countries was 24 percentage points last year.
Fewer employees on short-time working
Due to the pandemic, the Sensors and Measuring Technology division also introduced short-time working. While 58 percent of companies were still using short-time working in the third quarter, the number fell to 52 percent in the fourth quarter. After around 38 percent of all jobs in the sector were on short-time working in the second quarter, the proportion of jobs affected was only eleven percent at the end of 2020.
Pandemic has a positive impact on digitization
The AMA Association surveyed its members on whether and in which areas digitalization is taking place due to the pandemic. 86 percent of AMA members say that the COVID 19 pandemic is leading to increased digitization in companies. Large as well as small and medium-sized companies indicated that they are digitizing their own sales in particular.
"2020 was not a good year for our industry either. In the first half of the year, revenue, investments and the number of jobs fell. Thanks to short-time work, it was possible to retain specialized staff from our members ", says Thomas Simmons, Managing Director AMA Association for Sensor and Measurement Technology. "In the second half of the year, sales and incoming orders picked up again and the willingness to invest is growing. This puts the industry in a positive mood overall, expecting a nine percent increase in sales for fiscal year 2021."
AMA Association reports industry development for the third quarter of 2020
While the sensor and measurement technology industry recorded significant losses until the middle of the year, the third quarter gives hope for a slow recovery. While sales declined significantly in the first and second quarters, sales development in the third quarter indicates a slight stabilization with plus one percent. Incoming orders increased by four percent, which gives the industry cause for optimism.
The AMA Association for Sensor and Measurement Technology e.V. (AMA) surveyed its approximately 450 members on economic development in the third quarter. According to its own data, the industry generated a sales increase of one percent in the third quarter, compared to the previous quarter.
This is a positive development, as the industry had expected a minus of three percent for the third quarter. Among the large companies, sales by suppliers to their own sensor and measurement technology industry sector developed disproportionately well. Sales of suppliers to the mechanical engineering sector stagnated, while those of automotive suppliers are slowly stabilizing.
Short-time working and disruption of supply chains
The proportion of companies that introduced or maintained short-time working in the third quarter was 58 percent. Here, suppliers to the automotive industry, 80 percent of which are on short-time work, are showing themselves to be particularly affected.
The AMA Association also asked its members about pandemic-related supply chain disruptions. Supply chains were disrupted for a quarter of members, and 42 percent of these members were unable to find adequate replacement suppliers. Again, AMA members supplying to the automotive industry were particularly affected.
"We are pleased to see a slight upward trend in the sensor and measurement industry in the third quarter," said Thomas Simmons, AMA executive director. "However, we see a light at the end of the tunnel for now. Due to the heavy losses in the first quarters, the industry lost the very good industry performance of the past two to three years. The effects of the COVID 19 pandemic are difficult to foresee. Nevertheless, our members are mostly optimistic about the fourth quarter and expect a six percent increase in sales."
AMA Association reports industry development in the second quarter of 2020
Sensor and Measuring Technology already recorded slight revenue losses in the first quarter, in the second quarter sales fell by a further eight percent. Incoming orders in the industry also developed negatively, falling by 13 percent. The share of AMA member companies that have registered short-time work rose to 55 percent in the second quarter.
Berlin, September 16, 2020 - The AMA Association for Sensors and Measurement (AMA) polls its approximately 450 members about the economic development in the second quarter. According to their own statements, the industry generated a drop in sales of eight percent in the second quarter compared to the previous quarter.
It is interesting to note that large and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) show similar sales trends, but expectations differ. While SMEs had predicted a 14 percent drop in sales in the first quarter, they generated a less negative result than expected, at minus eight percent. For the current quarter, SMEs are expecting a minus of three percent. The large companies expected a decline of three percent and have to cope with a drop in sales of nine percent. For the third quarter, the large companies expect a minus of one percent.
Development of the most important sales markets in the second quarter
The sales markets of sensor and measurement technology companies also developed differently in the second quarter. The only positive developments were sales to the building and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning sectors. The medical technology sector reported a slight overall decline.
Suppliers to the strongly sensor-driven automotive, mobility, mechanical and electrical engineering sectors suffered the sharpest falls in sales. Expectations for the current quarter are also clouding significantly in these sectors. On the other hand, suppliers to the semiconductor and medical technology industries and to the company's own sensor and measurement technology sector are confident.
"The entire German economy experienced a significant decline in economic output in the first half of the year," says Thomas Simmons, AMA Managing Director. "Subsequently, this development also pulled sensor and measurement technology into a downward trend. Weak demand from abroad is additionally flanking this sales trend. It is not yet possible to estimate quantitatively how severe the slump will be for sensor and measurement technology manufacturers".
The AMA Association for Sensors and Measurement polls its members every quarter on their economic development. The sensor industry reports a drop in turnover of one percent for the first quarter of this year compared to the previous quarter. Orders incoming rose at the beginning of the year by four percent. The sensor industry expects a drop in revenue of four percent for the second quarter.
Turnover and orders incoming in the German industry partially recuperated at the beginning of the year. However, due to the Corona pandemic, which sparked a massive worldwide decline in supply and demand, the economic trend has reversed.
The effects of the pandemic impact production, supply chains, sales markets, and the German employment market. According to the AMA Association the extent of the slump for the sensor and measurement industry is at present difficult to estimate. In the current quarter, the sensor industry is counting with a drop in revenue of four percent.
“Since the national and international sales markets have steeply declined due to the Corona pandemic, this has a time-lagged impact on the producers of sensors and measuring technology,” says Thomas Simmons, general manager of the AMA Association for Sensors and Measurement. “The economic development for the first quarter shows that the suppliers for the automotive industry are especially affected, having to cope with an extensive drop in revenue. These and the suppliers for machine and plant engineering have a pessimistic outlook for the current quarter. Unlike this development, the AMA members supplying building automation and medical technology record slight increases in the first quarter and have a clearly optimistic outlook on the current quarter.”