Digital Reporting

How DAX companies use digital corporate reports

Digital reports

Digital reports (HTML reports) are well established within German companies. More than 20 years ago, DaimlerChrysler was the first DAX-listed company to publish a fully-fledged HTML version of its annual report. Digital reports used to be just an "add-on" to the printed report, but today they are clearly at the centre of most publication strategies. But what is the status quo of digital reporting and who is leading the field?

The 4 types of online reports in practice

In principle, only HTML reports fully exploit the potential of the Internet to its full extent. In practice, online annual reports can be divided into four types:

  • Full HTML reports offer the complete content of the annual report in HTML. They are the top class of digital reporting and offer the greatest added value.
  • Hybrid reports offer only part of the content in HTML content. The notes (but possibly also other chapters) are often only available for download as PDFs.
  • Summary reports consist only of a few digital HTML overview pages describing the last financial year - mostly with a clear focus on digital storytelling.
  • One pagers are the smallest form of online reports. They consist of only one (usually longer) scrolling page on the fiscal year.

Who we are...

Facts and figures

Facts and figures

Online annual reports 2022 in the DAX

Online vs. PDF

About two thirds of DAX 40 companies rely on an online report.

Online formats vs. PDF in %

How popular are online annual reports in the DAX 40?

Facts and figures

Development of print runs of annual reports

When the first online reports appeared, the printed annual report was still the undisputed "leading medium" in the DAX. Today the time to shine for the print report is over. As a longitudinal study (WU Vienna) shows, the print runs of annual reports have radically declined in recent years: In 2009, DAX companys used to print 30,842 copies of their report; in 2019, only 1,856. Today most DAX companies stopped printing their report at all.

Print run decline from
2009 to 2019

-94 %

Facts and figures

Use of diverse formats

Most popular chapters

Distribution of page views in full HTML reports by chapter (n=6 reports).

Best Practice

Best Practice

  • adidas

    adidas: snackable content

    1. The dashboard contains the most important facts and figures in the form of snackable content.
    2. Large-scale photos and videos impressively convey the brand spirit.
    3. The tag manager filters pages according to certain topics, such as results, sustainability or employees.
    Visit website
  • Beiersdorf

    Beiersdorf goes full HTML

    1. Beiersdorf publishes a brand-new full HTML report in 2022.
    2. Animated graphics, emotional images and microanimations inform stakeholders about how the company is growing.
    3. Beiersdorf makes use of many advantages of the online report: a quick start on the landin page, a magazine part, and an interactive key figure comparison.
    Visit website
  • BMW

    BMW: Maximum of creativity

    1. The online BMW annual report is a hybrid report.
    2. Thanks to scrolling effects, stakeholders are drawn deeper and deeper into the spell of the different magazine stories.
    3. Another interesting feature for stakeholders is the filterable financial statements tables, which provide a good overview.
    Visit website


Zitat Henning Zülch

“There is no way around an online version of the annual report. Younger target groups in particular want to find information online and to be presented as briefly as possible. That's why investor relations departments need to rethink the old ways of financial communication and head into new, innovative directions.”

– Henning Zülch, HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management
Visit website