The 2018 Global
Innovation 1000 study

Investigating trends at the world’s 1000 largest corporate R&D spenders.

What the Top Innovators Get Right

With careful attention to six key areas, companies can make the most of their R&D investment and outpace the competition.

The success of the companies we’ve identified as high-leverage innovators — those that outperformed their industry groups on seven key measures of financial success for the previous five years, while at the same time spending less on R&D as a percentage of sales — reaffirms one of the time-tested findings of the Global Innovation 1000 study. There is no long-term correlation between the amount of money a company spends on its innovation efforts and its overall financial performance. Instead, what matters is how companies use that money and other resources, as well as the quality of their talent, processes, and decision making, to create products and services that connect with their customers.

Read the full study report on strategy+business

Global key findings

  • High-leverage innovators
  • New innovation excellence
  • Global innovation model
  • Global Innovation 1000

Apple and Stanley Black & Decker were the only two companies that qualified as high-leverage innovators in all three periods.

Companies today need to excel at every aspect of innovation. And they need to make them converge in a way that pushes the boundaries of market expectations, and transforms the customer experience.

84% of need seekers say their innovation and business strategies are closely aligned, whereas this is true for only 48% of market readers and 53% of technology drivers.

Worldwide R&D spending among the world’s 1000 largest corporate R&D spenders increased 11.4 percent in 2018 to $782 billion.

The 2018 Global Innovation 1000 study

The Global Innovation 1000 study analyses spending at the world's 1000 largest publicly listed corporate R&D spenders. The interactive data tool below lists the Top 25 largest corporate R&D spenders from the years 2012-2018 worldwide. You can use the tool to filter by year, company name, country, and industry group to view R&D expenditures, Revenue, and R&D intensity (R&D expenditure as a percentage of Revenue). In order to see the complete list of Top 1000 corporate R&D spenders from the years 2012-2018 see the "Download the Data" section. Click here for the methodology.

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Download the raw data

In order to receive the complete raw data file of the Top 1000 R&D spenders from 2012-2018 you will need to complete this request form. The raw data file will be sent to you from “GBL_Innovation-1000@pwc.com”. Please check your junk mail in case you do not see it in your main inbox folder. If you have not received it, please contact us at GBL_Innovation-1000@pwc.com.

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Strategy&’s 2018 Global Innovation 1000 study Methodology

As it has in each of the past 13 editions of the Global Innovation 1000, this year Strategy&, PwC’s strategy consulting business, identified the 1,000 public companies around the world that spent the most on R&D during the last fiscal year, as of June 30, 2018. To be included, companies had to make their R&D spending numbers public. Subsidiaries that were more than 50 percent owned by a single corporate parent during the period were excluded if their financial results were included in the parent company’s financials. The Global Innovation 1000 companies collectively account for 40 percent of the world’s R&D spending, from all sources, including corporate and government sources.

In 2013, Strategy& made some adjustments to the data collection process in order to gain a more accurate and complete picture of innovation spending. In prior years, both capitalized and amortized R&D expenditures were excluded. Starting in 2013, we included the most recent fiscal year’s amortization of capitalized R&D expenditures for relevant companies in calculating the total R&D investment, while continuing to exclude any non-amortized capitalized costs. We have now applied this methodology to all previous years’ data; as a result, historical data referenced in the studies from 2014 onward will not always align with previously published figures for the 2005 through 2012 studies.

For each of the top 1,000 companies, we obtained from Capital IQ and Thomson Eikon the key financial metrics for 2013 through 2018, including sales, gross profit, operating profit, net profit, historical R&D expenditures, and market capitalization. All sales and R&D expenditure figures in foreign currencies were converted into U.S. dollars according to an average of the exchange rate over the relevant period; for data on share prices, we used the exchange rate on the last day of the period.

All companies were coded into one of nine industry sectors (or “other”) according to Capital IQ’s industry designations, and into one of five regional designations, as determined by their reported headquarters locations. To enable meaningful comparisons across industries, the R&D spending levels and financial performance metrics of each company were indexed against the average values in its own industry. Finally, to understand the ways in which global R&D is and will be conducted at companies across multiple industries, Strategy& conducted an online survey of 869 innovation leaders and managers around the world. The companies participating represented more than US$130 billion in R&D spending, or 17.1 percent of this year’s total Global Innovation 1000 R&D spending, all nine of the industry sectors, and all five geographic regions.

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