The largest online furniture retailer in Germany is not a known company name from the furniture industry, but mail order company Otto. With approximately 600 million euros in sales in the past fiscal year, Otto was without doubt the online furniture market leader in Germany. It’s four times as big as competitor Ikea.
Ecommerce once grew hard thanks to an increased popularity of shopping fashion and accessories online, but like IFH recently concluded, this product category is showing much smaller growth rates than before. Instead, most of the ecommerce growth in Germany now comes from latecomers like food, DIY products and furniture.
Die Welt writes how the online furniture industry is still in the starting phase. The market is estimated to be worth two billion euros, which is still rather low if you compare this with the total furniture market that’s worth 30 billion euros. “But the industry attracts start-up companies and new starters like Home24 from Berlin or Westwing from Munich are easily able to get starting capital.” Home24, which acquired Fashion For Home this week, just got a three-digit million euro amount and wants to use this to finance the expansion in Germany and Europe. “The well-known stationary furniture retailers consumers know from TV ads on the other hand, have a hard time selling their products online; the most of them just have a few percent share of online sales.”
Even the country’s biggest online retailer, Amazon, has not yet discovered furniture. According to Die Welt that’s one reason why the number two in the German ecommerce industry, mail order company Otto, is particularly active in this online industry. According to Otto’s group executive Alexander Birken, online furniture sales are currently growing at double-digit rates. But if Amazon decided to “flip the switch”, the online furniture market could change quickly.
In order to further expand the current lead it has, Otto is testing a new delivery service. Directly before ordering a piece of furniture, customers can select the day they want their goods to be delivered. So far the offer is only available in about a quarter of Germany. If it’s succesfull and works smoothly, Otto wants to introduce the service nationwide next year.