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German companies are hesitant about platforms

Platforms like Amazon, YouTube, Spotify, Alibaba and Booking.com are currently changing the world, but many companies in Germany are skeptical about digital platforms.
E-3 Magazine
February 24, 2020
German companies are hesitant about platforms
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This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

Although 4 out of 10 companies (45%) state that they see digital platforms as an opportunity for their own company, at the same time 3 out of 10 (30%) consider them to be a risk.

One in five companies (22%) do not consider digital platforms to be important for their own business. In comparison: 96% generally consider digitalization to be an opportunity for their own company, while only 3% see it as a risk.

This is the result of a study commissioned by the digital association Bitkom among more than 500 companies in Germany with 20 or more employees. It was presented by Bitkom President Achim Berg in the run-up to this year's Federal Government Digital Summit.

Overall, companies are divided when it comes to platforms. Around two thirds (63%) believe that the use of digital platforms has more advantages than disadvantages for them overall, but one in four (27%) say that digital platforms jeopardize our existence.

The most important advantages of digital platforms in the German economy are the creation of a broader product range (74%), the development of new customer groups (72%) and securing the future viability of the company (68%).

This is followed by raising awareness (63%) and promoting innovation (62%). However, revenue also plays an important role. For example, 57% see an increase in turnover for existing products and 42% see additional turnover with new products.

Almost every second company (47%) expects to benefit from the acquisition of data. In contrast, companies are concerned about easy market access for new competitors (65%), increased price pressure and the loss of direct customer relationships (55% each).

This is followed by shrinking margins due to fees (48%). Many companies fear a strong position of the platform operator. For example, 42% are concerned that they will become dependent on the platform operator and one in three companies (33%) are critical of customer data being passed on to the platform operator.

Another frequently voiced concern is the formation of a monopoly. Every second company believes that only one platform for one purpose can remain on the market in the long term, thus creating a monopoly.

Bitkom graphic
Basis: All companies surveyed (n=502) | Source: Bitkom Research. Multiple answers possible.
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