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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

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.

Top 3 ecommerce Germany: €13.92 billion

The top 3 of biggest ecommerce companies in Germany had a total revenue of 13.92 billion euros last year. Together, the online sales of Amazon, Otto and Zalando account for 41.4 percent of the country’s top 100 of biggest online retailers.

Zara installs parcel machine in Germany

Fashion retailer Zara is testing its very first parcel machine in Germany. Customers can click and collect items at the company’s flagship store in Hamburg. The machine has place for 700 parcels, but is only accessible during the store’s opening hours.

65% of German retailers don’t sell online

Two out of three retailers in Germany still don’t sell their products online. Mostly, it’s grocers, clothing stores and specialists such as jewelers that don’t sell on the internet.

De Bijenkorf launches in Germany

De Bijenkorf has launched its online shop in Germany. The Dutch omnichannel retailer offers products from around 1,000 well-known and upcoming brands. In the Netherlands, the department store has one of the country’s biggest online stores.

Read all our articles about ecommerce in Germany.

Last update: April 2019