Mentions of digitalization within the filings of companies in the automotive industry were 21% higher in the second quarter of 2021 than in Q2 of 2020.
In total, the frequency of sentences related to digitalization between July 2020 and June 2021 was 108% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from whom our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.
When companies in the automotive industry publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Digitalization is one of these topics - companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.
To assess whether digitalization is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of companies in the automotive industry, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies which have mentioned digitalization at least once in filings during the past twelve months - this was 88% compared to 46% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to digitalization.
Of the 50 biggest employers in the automotive industry, Bridgestone Corp was the company which referred to digitalization the most between July 2020 and June 2021. GlobalData identified 70 digitalization-related sentences in the Japan-based company's filings - 1.1% of all sentences. Faurecia SA mentioned digitalization the second most - the issue was referred to in 0.9% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high digitalization mentions included Daimler AG, Pirelli & C. SpA and Schaeffler AG.
Across all companies in the automotive industry the filing published in the second quarter of 2021 which exhibited the greatest focus on digitalization came from Bridgestone Corp. Of the document's 1,154 sentences, 16 (1.4%) referred to digitalization.
This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on digitalization and how important the issue is considered within the automotive industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning digitalization more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into digitalization have been successes or failures.
In the last quarter, companies in the automotive industry based in Western Europe were most likely to mention digitalization with 0.38% of sentences in company filings referring to the issue. In contrast, companies with their headquarters in the United States mentioned digitalization in just 0.12% of sentences.