Ecommerce in Germany

Germany 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. Here’s what you need to know about ecommerce in Germany:

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COUNTRY
GERMANY
Population 81.1 million people
– % internet users 85%
Online sales €83.3 billion (2020)
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

PAYMENT METHODS – Traditionally, online shoppers in Germany are keen on using invoice, for years this was their preferred online payment method. But a study from 2020 showed that, among consumers who have a preferred payment method, e-wallets were the most popular choice. PayPal is indeed very popular among Germans. Other popular methods are invoice, credit card, and direct debit.

Preferred payment methods in Germany (source: Nets)

PRODUCT CATEGORIES – 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 keener on shopping online instead of shopping offline. According to a study from RetailX, 85 percent of German citizens have shopped online during 2020. And 95 percent of the population has been online that year.

RETURNS – 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.

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. Another study, by Bevh, shows that ecommerce (services excluded) in Germany was worth 83.3 billion euros in 2020.

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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.

The development of ecommerce in Germany (2013-2020).

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).

Read all our articles about ecommerce in Germany.

Last update: May 2021