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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.

COUNTRY
GERMANY
Population 80.2 million people
– % internet users 85%
Online sales €59.7 billion (2015)
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 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 often used online payment methods 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 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 May 2016, the Ecommerce Foundation shared some interesting statistics about ecommerce in Germany. The market was worth 59.7 billion euros in 2015 and is expected to reach 66.9 billion euros in 2016. And wwd.com thinks it’s expected to grow 12 percent yearly through 2017, faster than any other Western European country. It’s expected ecommerce revenue will account for 53% of the total gross domestic product in Germany by 2017. The estimated share of online retail in Germany in total retail is 6,6% at the moment.

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. And data from the Centre for Retail Search shows us that online sales in Germany account for 8% of total retail sales.

Ecommerce growth in Germany

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 10 largest online retailers in Germany, by turnover in 2015, are: Amazon (€7,790 million), Otto (€2,300mn), Zalando (€1,031mn), Notebooksbilliger.de (€610mn), Cyberport (€404mn), Bonprix (€484mn), Tchibo (€450mn), Conrad (€433mn), Alternate (€376mn) and Apple (€369mn).

Latest news about Germany

Clas Ohlson closes shops in UK and Germany

Swedish furniture and hardware store Clas Ohlson is changing its business model. The retailer becomes online only in the United Kingdom and Germany and thus shuts down all its physical stores. Well, not all, as the store in Reading will remain open.

Panda.black brings German products to China

The new startup Panda.black wants to make way for German retailers and manufacturers in China. The president of ecommerce association Bundesverband Onlinehandel is behind this platform that wants to build a digital bridge between German dealers and the Chinese ecommerce market.

Fiverr launches in Germany

Fiverr.com has launched in Germany. The online marketplace for creative and digital services now has a localized website with country-specific functions for Germans. This launch marks the first European branch of the Israeli tech company.

Bundeskartellamt investigates abuse of dominance by Amazon

The Bundeskartellamt, whose task it is to protect competition in Germany, will examine how Amazon operates in Germany. The main concern is that Amazon is an online retailer itself, but it also has opened its German marketplace for external vendors. Is Amazon abusing its market position?

Klarna launches financing program Boost

Klarna has launched its own financing program for SME retailers in Europe. The new initiative is called Boost and is aimed to further support retailers in accelerating their growth. The company promises the application process will be simple and straightforward.

Read all our articles about ecommerce in Germany.

Last update: January 2017