In 2014-2016, 47.8% of Italian enterprises with at least ten persons employed undertook innovation activity. As compared to the previous period 2012-2014, the propensity to innovate increased greatly (+ 4 percentage points).
The innovation propensity increased largely among small and medium enterprises (-8,0 percentage points compared with the previous period in the first category, -3.9 percentage points in the second one), while it decreased slightly among large enterprises (81.8%, -1.5 percentage points). Such a decrease was partly explained from the reduction of investments in innovation in the service sector.
Industry is still the most innovative sector: 57.1% of enterprises with innovation activities and an increase of +7,0 percentage points. Within this sector, it concerns most of large enterprises (91.8%, +1.7 percentage points), for which innovation is confirmed to be a key element of the business strategies.
In 2014-2016 almost three quarter of innovative enterprises was involved in product-process innovation activities (‘innovative enterprises strictly speaking’), 21.8% introduced just soft innovations (not linked to technologies) and 4.9% undertook innovation activities that are still ongoing at the end of 2016.
The adoption of integrated innovations practices is confirmed as a tendency: 53.2% of innovative enterprises is involved in developing new products-processes and at the same time introduced organization or marketing innovations. Further, 50.2% of ‘innovative enterprises strictly speaking’ innovated both products and productive processes.
In 2016 innovation expenditure per person employed (measured taking into account just the product-process innovative enterprises) was 7,800 euros, a wide increase compared to 2014 (6,200 euros). The growth involves all the sectors: from the industry, which is confirmed as leader (9,600 euros against 8.000 in the previous period), to services (6,000 euros against 4.300 in 2012-2014) and construction (4,900 euros against the previous 2.800).