Industry Facts & Figures v2

Here we present the results of our 5th survey of the European EO services industry. Previous ones were conducted in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2020, 20221, and now 2023. In each case, the date refers to the year of the survey with data from the previous year.

The survey is presented in a series of chapters as indicated to the right presenting facts and figures concerning the state of the industry. A revised methodology has been adopted in order to optimize the analysis to be performed on an annual basis.

A core set of figures will be compiled each year, whilst some will be only assembled biennially. This allows us to keep track of more variables without being over-demanding on the industry each time we ask them to complete the survey questionnaire.

The core of number of companies, employment and revenues will be updated annually.

Building the database:

  • Our database of companies is maintained on a constant basis to add new ones and remove any which disappear through merger or failure.
  • Public sources are scanned and monitored for new companies; workshops and conferences, accelerators, ESA BIC’s, members news, trade journals etc.
  • Only companies with a legal entity in Europe which is selling services based on EO data are included.
  • 32 countries are covered comprising EU and ESA member states.
  • Each company has been validated through the national companies register – which also provides the date of formation.
  • The company website is reviewed for confirmation that its business includes the sale of services which are based on the use of EO data. Where companies are involved in various parts of the value-chain, this data is noted where possible.


  • Companies offering services or supplying (selling) data or information using satellite (EO) data.
  • Private legal-entity in an EU or ESA Member State.
  • Survey conducted in 2020 collecting 2019 data.
  • Where EO services are only a part of the business model, the proportion of employees linked to this part of the business is determined as far as possible.

Data Collection and preparation:

The data is collected by a series of steps. In moving to an annual survey a focused approach has been adopted so that not all companies are asked to fill in data each year.

  • A selected, representative sample of companies from our database are contacted to provide a survey response.
  • This data is compared to the same data from 12 months ago to establish industry-wide trends.
  • The trend data is applied to our full database which contains the data from previous years’ surveys.
  • The data is examined carefully and any perceived anomalies cross-checked to correct false results.
  • Additional data may be sought if there are some key parts missing. This will be either gathered directly or it will be purchased from a commercial supplier. This generally yields revenue data.
  • For those companies with no revenue data, we calculate an average revenue per head for the different classes of companies.
  • For those companies with no employment nor revenue data, we distribute them according to the distribution in the main dataset over micro and small companies and apply average revenues per head.
  • Data is consistency checked between each of the surveys.

Data Analysis:

  • The first step is to analyse the industrial landscape which may also identify gaps which need to be filled. A cut-off is set for company data which we had entered before the end of the year in question (2019 in this case). This is sorted by country and by year of formation.
  • The second step is to assemble the employee information. The latest data is taken based on the final data which had been used in the 2019 survey updated with new data if it has been entered. A comparison is made of like-for-like to establish a growth trend which is applied, by company category, to any data which is more than 2 years old. The companies are classified according to the latest employment figures available. This leads us to establish a “new” final table of employment figures which will also be the starting point next year. For all companies for which no data is available, they are assumed to all be micro or small companies and are distributed to match the known figures.
  • The third step is to establish the revenue information. As for the employment figures, the final list of revenues is taken from the last survey and updated where new figures have been provide this year (around 70-80 companies). Average revenues per head for each category of company are used for those companies where no revenue numbers have been obtained. A final table of revenue figures is assembled for all the companies with projected numbers added for all those with no data being available.

The value-chain defines the scope of the study. All businesses included in the picture to the right are included.

  • Satellite data, value adding services and GI services form the core of the value chain.
  • Software revenues are included in the core value chain where they arise ie Value-added or GI Services.
  • Consultancy is not to deliver EO services but support to the ecosystem (ie studies for ESA or EC).
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is included for the first time recognising the increasing actors offering cloud or processing services.
  • Internal service departments are those where a company in a different sector (e.g. O&G) has an internal unit delivering EO services information to other parts of its business. They are not in the scope of the survey.

The context in which the EO services industry is operating is changing extremely rapidly. Here are a few of the key trends, events etc which are considered relevant in 2019.

  • The EC has proposed a new EU Space programme with an overall budget of €16b of which €5.8b is proposed for Copernicus.
  • The ESA ministers agreed an ambitious budget for Earth Observation of €2.5b for the next 5 years
  • The Copernicus programme continues to have a strong influence on the European EO sector as an important reference customer for data and for services as well as source of free and open data. Five DIAS (Data Access and Information Services) launched in 2018, start to become operational leveraging commercial assets alongside Free and Open Sentinel data.
  • Italy launched Prisma as well as a new Cosmo-Skymed Satellite. In the commercial domain there were launches from Iceye, Planet, Blackrock and Spire.
  • There were two mergers announced involving European companies namely CLS acquired SIRS and CGI acquired Scisys (UK), In addition in early 2019, Planet announced the acquisition of Boundless Spatial.

Technology continues to evolve at a rapid rate with the latest focus being on Artificial Intelligence as a tool to extract more information, faster from satellite images.

European Industry at a glance

  • 8th survey on the state & health of the EO services industry, prepared by EARSC with the support of ESA
  • Direct research on over 500 companies; survey sample of 140 companies

772 Companies

13796 Employees

1.79 billion revenues

7,5 % growth rate

EARSC 2023 Industry Survey

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