According to a survey by Statistics Estonia, the rate of innovativeness in companies has dropped 9.2 percent since the survey was last done in 2010, continuing a decline in the rate of innovation in practically all spheres of economic activity since the recession of 2008.
The data indicated that 47.6 percent of enterprises were innovative in the 2012 testing period, compared to the 56.8 percent rate in 2010.
The innovation survey is conducted every two years across Europe, and studied more than 1,799 industrial and 1,706 service enterprises with at least 10 employees. An enterprise was considered innovative if in the last three years it had put into practice an organizational or marketing innovation, introduced a new or significantly improved product to the market, implemented a new or significantly improved process, or had expenditures on activities specifically undertaken to develop and/or implement a product or process innovation.
Innovativeness was in decline practically in all spheres, In the textile industry, it fell from 70 percent to 35 percent, and in the timber industry from 64 percent to 41 percent. However, innovativeness of the food industry remained at the level of 64 percent, and for enterprises engaged in water collection, treatment and supply, innovativeness rose from 45 percent to 66 percent.
The data from other countries will be published in Eurostat’s database only in the autumn of this year, but Finland's data was already available, and showed it remained at a 53 percent innovation rate in both 2010 and 2012. Estonia was outpacing Finland in 2010, but is now lagging behind by 5.4 percentage points.
The decrease in innovativeness varied slightly by type of innovation. While the share of enterprises with organisation or marketing innovations declined in 2012 compared to 2010 by 2.0 and 3.7 percentage points, respectively, the share of those having introduced a product innovation decreased by 4.8 percent, and the share of those having implemented a process innovation dropped by 7.4 percentage points. While in 2010 every fourth enterprise in Estonia was product-innovative, then in 2012 only every fifth reached that mark.