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Research and development in the business enterprise sector 2013:

R&D intensity dominated by three industries

Statistical news from Statistics Sweden 2015-06-11 9.30

The pharmaceutical industry, manufacturing of computers, electronic and optical products, and the vehicle manufacturing industry alone account for 42.6 billion of R&D expenditures. The total of business enterprise R&D amounted to SEK 85.9 billion in 2013.

R&D intensity prominent in high-tech sectors

The industries mentioned above, together with the "pure" R&D companies , are also the industries with the highest R&D intensities. R&D intensity is the share of available resources that are used in R&D.

R&D intensity in selected industries, percent in 2013
NACE Rev. 2 (2007)IndustryExpenditures
for intramural
R&D in
relation to
net sales
Current costs
for intramural
R&D in
relation to
net sales
Labour costs
for intramural
R&D in
relation to
total labour
for R&D
in relation
to average
number of
01–99, excl. 64–66+84
Total excl. Financial enterprises
1.5 1.5 4.0 2.8
Goods producing enterprises
2.6 2.6 7.1 5.3
Manufacture of basic pharmaceutical
products and pharmaceutical preparations
11.5 11.2 29.6 21.1
Manufacture of computer, electronic
and optical products
12.5 12.4 31.8 31.9
Manufacture of machinery and equipment n.e.c.
3.4 3.2 8.6 7.6
Manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers
and semi-trailers and Manufacture of
other transport equipment
7.0 6.7 17.1 14.4
45–99 excl. 64–66+84
Service producing enterprisese
0.7 0.7 2.0 1.4
Scientific research and development
50.3 47.0 58.2 59.2
Industry research institutes*
51.3 49.8 51.0 57.3

[1] NACE 72, Scientific research and development * Industry research institutes is not a predefined sector in NACE 2007 but rather a separate compilation of R&D intensive enterprises, mainly from NACE 72.

Swedish corporate R&D spending high in international comparison

International comparisons of R&D intensity where R&D activities are related to each country's size puts Sweden in a top position. In absolute numbers, Swedish companies are highly ranked when R&D expenditures are related to the rest of the OECD member states. Swedish companies perform 1.2 percent of all R&D in the OECD and the OECD's partner countries. U.S. enterprises perform the largest amount of R&D with roughly 40 percent, followed by Japan with 14 percent.

Industrial R&D intensity also high in international comparison

In relation to value added the Swedish corporate R&D spending is 3.7 percent, a top position in an international comparison. Only companies in Israel, Finland, South Korea and Japan have higher R&D intensity relative to value added in the industry.

Definitions and explanations

High-tech sector

The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) defines sectors in high-, medium-, medium low-, and low technologies. Included in high-tech sectors are e.g. Pharmaceuticals and Electronics.

Research and Development (R&D)

Research is systematic work to find new knowledge or ideas with or without the aim of a particular purpose. Development is systematic work that uses research results, scientific knowledge or new ideas to bring about new material, goods, services, processes, systems, methods or significant improvements of those that already exist. Intramural R&D includes activities carried out in Sweden by the organisation's own personnel, or by consultants in an R&D project led by the organisation.

Full-time equivalent (FTE) refers to the work carried out by a full-time employee during one year. A full-time employee who spent half his/her time working with R&D counts as 0.5 person-years.


A more detailed report of this survey is published in the Statistical Report.

Feel free to use the facts from this statistical news but remember to state Source: Statistics Sweden.

Statistical agency and producer

Statistics Sweden, Innovation, Business sector production and Research section


ICT, Business cycle and R&D unit



Anni Jonsson Juho

+46 10 479 42 77