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Ecommerce in Germany

Information about ecommerce in GermanyGermany is Europe’s largest economy and after Russia it’s also Europe’s most populous country. After World War II Germany was divided into two different states: West Germany (officially called the Federal Republic of Germany) and East Germany (the German Democratic Republic). The western part sought established links with other Western European countries, while the communist GDR was more connected with countries like the Soviet Union, Hungary and Poland. As of July 2013 it’s estimated 81.1 million people live in Germany, of which 42% is between 25 and 54 years old.


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COUNTRY
GERMANY
Population 81.1 million people
– % internet users 85%
Online sales €57.8 billion (predicted for 2019)
Online stores worth mentioning: Otto, Zalando, Mediamarkt

Content:

Ecommerce events in Germany

Every year there are several ecommerce events being organized in Germany. We have a handy ecommerce events calendar, where you can find all the major online retail events in Europe. But you can also check out only the ecommerce events in Germany.

Ecommerce customers in Germany

Online shoppers in Germany (47 million in 2015) are keen on using invoice, as it is their preferred online payment method. According to a 2013 survey almost six in ten online customers in Germany pay afterwards whenever they’ve ordered something online. But it’s not only invoice that’s popular, 34% of the German customers use credit cards (MasterCard, VISA or American Express). Other online payment methods that are often used are PayPal, ELV, GiroPay, Sofort Überweisung , RatePay and cash on delivery.

Online payment methods in Germany, according to Payvision.
Online payment methods in Germany, according to a 2014 survey by Payvision.

Another study, one from BITKOM, suggests that with 63% invoice is the most important payment method in Germany, followed by online payment services such as PayPal (56%), debit (46%), credit card (29%), immediate transfer/Giropay (26%), payment in advance (24%), cash on delivery (9%).

Online fashion is the most popular product category in Germany, followed by consumer media and electronics. Especially in the categories ‘consumer electronics & computers’ and ‘media’ (books, music, movies, video games) German consumers are more keen on shopping online instead of shopping offline. According to a study from BITKOM, 65% of German citizens have shopped online during 2012, up from 53 percent in 2008. The current European average is 45 percent. In Germany, 85% of the people have access to the internet.

Germany is known for its high return percentage. Some reports claim that 50% of all orders gets sent back. This is important to know if you want to do business in Germany. More tips for ecommerce in Germany can be found at EcommerceWiki.

The ecommerce market in Germany

In April 2019, Handelsverband Deutschland shared some interesting statistics about ecommerce in Germany. The market was worth 53.3 billion euros in 2018 and is expected to reach 57.8 billion euros in 2019.

And according to a study from Deutsche Card Services, the east-west difference in German online retailing has vanished. In terms of purchasing activity nowadays there is virtually no disparity between the western and eastern parts of Germany any more.

Online retail sales in Germany (2000-2019). Source: Handelsverband Deutschland
Online retail sales in Germany (2000-2019). Source: Handelsverband Deutschland

 

Big online stores in Germany

Ecommerce in Germany seems all about two big players: American retailer Amazon and German-founded Otto. They own almost half of the online market, so it’s pretty clear that it’s quite hard for smaller merchants to make a difference. The top 10 online stores in Germany are: Amazon (€8.82 billion), Otto (€2.96 billion), Zalando (€1.3 billion), Notebooksbilliger (€752 million), MediaMarkt (€734 million), Lidl (€594 million), Bonprix (€591 million), Cyberport (€533 million), Conrad (€494 million) and Alternate (€472 million).

Latest news about Germany

Amazon launches own wine brand

Amazon has presented a selection of “simple yet savory” wines, which are presented under its new wine and spirits brand Compass Road. The alcoholic beverages are currently available exclusively at Amazon Germany.

Zalando stops picking up returns of Plus members

Two years ago, Zalando introduced its premium service called Zalando Plus. It would offer express delivery within the same day or one or two business days, collection of returns and a seperat hotline for faster customer service. Now, the fashion giant will no longer pick up returns of Plus members… Continue reading

Gerry Weber expands online in Europe

Gerry Weber has expanded its online presence in Europe. The new online shops are part of a financial restructuring the company implemented after it made a restart.

Heyconnect helps German brands sell on La Redoute

Platform service provider Heyconnect has started a cooperation with French marketplace La Redoute. Now, Heyconnect can offer German and international brands the opportunity to offer their products on the popular French ecommerce platform for home and fashion.

German marketplaces warn dealers: get a VAT certificate

Online marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon and Etsy are warning connected retailers who are subject to VAT in Germany. They should provide the marketplaces with proof of their VAT registration with a special certificate. The deadline for submission expires on the 1st of October.

Read all our articles about ecommerce in Germany.

Last update: April 2019