The chemical industry accounted for 4%, or an estimated $2.2 billion, in sales of analytical instruments and laboratory products in 2017. As a result, chemical industry spending is an important component of the overall instrument market’s growth. Applications for analytical testing of chemical constituents and end-products include R&D and QA/QC.
In Germany, the world’s third largest chemical industry, chemical-pharmaceutical sales increased for the first time in two years in 2017, according to the latest figures from Germany’s chemical industry trade group VCI. Sales increased 5.9% to €195,549 million ($219,718 million = €0.89 = $1) last year. The fastest growing segments, excluding pharmaceuticals, were polymers and consumer chemicals, as sales rose 16.6% and 10.6%, respectively. Pharmaceutical sales increased 1.8% to €40,043 million ($44,992 million). The organization’s forecast for this year is sales growth of 4.5%.
Estimated R&D spending for the chemical-pharmaceutical industry in 2018 rose 1.9% to €11.0 billion ($12 billion), according to new estimates from VCI. In 2017, such spending increased approximately 3.1%. As a percentage of total revenues, R&D represented approximately 6% in 2017. Despite the downturn in sales in 2015 and 2016 for industry sales, R&D spending has increased every year since 2010.
Despite these increases, the number of R&D employees fell in both 2015 and 2016, the latest years for which data were available. In 2016, total chemical-pharmaceutical industry R&D workers employed by the German chemical-pharmaceutical industry declined 2.1% to 41,096. But the decline was wholly attributable to chemical companies, where R&D employment fell 8.3% to 21,667. The number of R&D employees at pharmaceutical companies rose 5.8%.