​The first part of the analysis deals with the page count of the reports. Slowly but steadily, the volume of annual reports is shrinking again. After a peak of 280 pages in 2010, the average is now 258 pages again.

As with the 2016 analysis, the shortest report comes from the consumer goods group Beiersdorf – with 106 pages. Deutsche Bank leads the analysis's ranking: It reports on the past fiscal year on 496 pages. As in 2016, this is the Bank's longest report, with almost twice as many pages as the average.

The long-term comparison of the average length shows a clear trend. While the average volume in 2000 was 134 pages, it rose to 194 pages in 2005 and 280 pages in 2010. However, this was followed by a turnaround: the volume of annual reports declined significantly. From our point of view, this development is positive. The annual report should concentrate on the essentials and avoid unnecessary redundancies. This is the only way to give the reader a compact overview of the financial year.

In addition to more compact reporting, another explanation for the smaller scope is certainly the significant shortening of the image sections. This has been observable for several years. The image part of the DAX annual reports will be dealt with in more detail in the next part of the series. The complete analysis can be read in the blog Geschaeftsberichte.de (in German).