Corona Extra

    KfW Research

    The coronavirus crisis and its impact

    The crisis caused by the Corona shock is like nothing before in terms of how fast it spread, its depth and the global scale of it. Current data and in-depth analyses are needed in order to find ways out of the crisis. Here you can read all the relevant position papers and studies by KfW Research regarding the current situation in SMEs, start-ups, municipalities and the labour market, both in Germany and internationally.

    KfW Research – Ideas and thoughts on the crisis

    Even amid the necessary short-term crisis management, investments are key to successful adaptation to the changed environment. They make restructuring energy supplies and the green and digital transformation possible – and demand a joint effort by government, the business community and private households. (November 2022)

    The need to change course is becoming ever more urgent if we are to make Germany future-proof. We see the greatest need in five key areas of action: Crisis resilience, climate neutrality, digitalisation, globalisation and Europe. (August 2021)

    Germany is facing enormous challenges with the transformation towards a digital and climate-neutral economy. But the coronavirus crisis is standing in the way of the necessary investment surge. (November 2020)

    The coronavirus pandemic has plunged Germany into a deep recession. Still, there is good reason to be optimistic. What do we have to do to succeed in overcoming the crisis? (October 2020)

    The economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis will hinge on meeting three immediate challenges: managing increased business debt and its consequences, building on the initial impetus for digitalisation and advancing carbon neutrality. (August 2020)

    After the coronavirus crisis, five fields of action will be crucial to making economic management more sustainable: enhancing the crisis resilience of the economy, accelerating the transition towards carbon neutrality, translating digitalisation and inventiveness into productivity growth, continuing to use the advantages of international integration and strengthening Europe. (May 2020)

    Business cycle

    Current economic analyses from KfW Research can be found in our Economy Dossier.


    The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has hit the entire SME sector but different segments have been affected to varying degrees. (August 2021)

    Most small and medium-sized enterprises will feel the impact of the coronavirus crisis for a long time. That was one of the findings of the second representative supplementary survey based on the KfW SME Panel in June 2020. (June 2020)

    The coronavirus crisis currently has a firm grip on Germany’s SMEs. A slump in turnover, dwindling liquidity buffers and uncertain prospects are spreading gloom. In March alone, SMEs’ turnover losses amounted to EUR 75 billion. (April 2020)

    Innovation and Digitalisation

    Innovation has declined among SMEs during the Corona crisis. After the initial push for digitalisation, activity here is also threatening to fall. (January 2021)

    Many SMEs are reacting to the coronavirus crisis with innovations. 27% have already introduced process, product or business model innovations.

    Many small and medium-sized enterprises have modified their offerings, sales method and business model as a result of the corona crisis. (June 2020)


    In a special survey, 24 VC investors gave their views on specific aspects. Start-ups are grappling with losses in turnover, which has also increased the risk of failure. At the same time, the crisis is impacting on their financing situation. (August 2020)

    Job Market

    In-company continuing education downright collapsed in the crisis year 2020. At the same time, the need for further digital skills training has grown significantly. Unless continuing education activities are stepped up noticeably, SMEs will become less competitive. (April 2021)

    Lifelong learning and further education have become more important than ever. Not only do they improve employment prospects of unemployed and short-time workers during the coronavirus crisis. They also enable workers to flexibly adapt to demographic, digital and ecological structural change. (February 2021)

    In order to keep their business open and protect their employees during the coronavirus crisis, many SMEs have increasingly transitioned to flexible working hours, split teams and home working arrangements. (June 2020)

    International situation

    The corona crisis quickly affected Germany’s important trading partners, causing international trade to collapse. In the longer term, digitali­sation and the further develop­ment of climate techno­logies will be important factors that will influence trade in capital goods, which saw a particularly steep drop. (Marach 2021)

    The coronavirus crisis has hit the global economy hard. International trade has plummeted. After what they have experienced during the crisis, businesses are likely to reassess and realign their global value chains. This may further slow down globalisation. However, diversified international trade offers opportunities for addressing country-specific risks. (December 2020)

    The measures taken to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the collapse in commodity prices, the disruptions in international financial markets and the economic downturn in important trading and financing partners such as the US and China have hit Latin American economies hard. (April 2020)

    The coronavirus crisis has hit Africa’s economies particularly hard. Major export markets have collapsed as a result of the global economic crisis. The costs of imports are rising and driving inflation. (April 2020)


    KfW Research, KfW Group, Palmengartenstrasse 5-9, 60325 Frankfurt, Germany,


    KfW Research, KfW Group, Palmengartenstrasse 5-9, 60325 Frankfurt, Germany,

    Our newsletters report on economic and demographic developments in Germany and Europe, as well as on interesting global economic and development policy topics.