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 ecomerce 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

Purchase on account is payment method with highest revenue in Germany

German consumers still like to pay for their online purchases only after they have received the goods. Most online retailers adapt to this, even when they offer payment by e-wallet or credit card in the first place. Purchase on account has further strengthened its leading position as the most revenue-intensive Continue reading

Lengow opens its doors to the B2B market

Ecommerce automation platform Lengow has opened its door to the business-to-business market with its integration of Amazon Business in the UK and Germany and Cdiscount Pro in France. With the integration, business sellers now have access to the three largest ecommerce markets in Europe.

Otto will offer ecommerce training course in 2018

Next year, it will be possible to follow a training course in Germany in order to become an online retailer. The Otto Group, with companies such as Baur, Bonprix and Otto, is behind the initiative that should lead to more professional German online retailers in the coming years.

German ecommerce company Otto uses AI to reduce returns

Otto, the major German ecommerce company, is using artificial intelligence, with an algorithm originally designed for experiments at the CERN laboratory, to improve its online activities. Thanks to the technology, Otto has managed to drastically decline its returns.

Shop Apotheke Europe further speeds up growth rate

Shop Apotheke Europe, a major online over-the-counter pharmacy, saw its revenues increase to 64.3 million euros during the first quarter of this year. This corresponds with an increase of 57 percent compared to the same period last year. According to the company, the further growth is the result of its Continue reading

Read all our articles about ecommerce in Germany.

Last update: January 2017