In contrast to the previous year, the most recent iteration of Coface’s survey on corporate payment experience in Germany was not influenced by exceptional events such as the COVID-19 pandemic or the onset of the war in Ukraine and the resulting pressures on commodity prices. This led to a normalization effect, bringing the 2023 payment statistics closer to those seen before the pandemic. Once again, a higher percentage of companies offered payment terms in 2023 (79% of all participants), a figure comparable to that of 2019 (81%). The prevalent preference for shorter credit terms in Germany remained unchanged: over half of the surveyed companies requested payments to be settled within 30 days in 2023, while exceedingly long credit terms (120+ days) remained uncommon.
The data on payment delays illustrates how much government support measures have aided companies in recent years. Indeed, now that nearly all COVID-19-related support measures have concluded and the impact of energy subsidies has stabilized, the number of companies reporting payment delays has normalized and risen to 76% in 2023 (as shown in Chart 1). This is notably higher than the 2020-2022 period but not as elevated as the figure in 2019 (85%). Nevertheless, it’s important to note that these figures exceed pre-pandemic levels in the automotive, transport, and ICT sectors. The average duration of payment delays increased to 30.1 days in 2023 (+1.4 days compared to 2022), though it still remains significantly below the pre-pandemic average of 39.7 days. Most sectors (excluding wood, construction, and textile-clothing) reported a lengthening in the duration of payment delays. The paper-packaging sector experienced the shortest waiting time this year with an average of 22 days, while companies in the finance sector had to be the most patient, facing an average delay of 39.2 days.