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Ecommerce to be biggest driver German retail sector in 2014

The retail turnover in Germany is likely to increase slightly in 2014. And ecommerce is entirely responsible for this growth, because brick and mortar retail sales in Germany fall for the first time in 2014. The overall retail turnover for this year will increase by 1.2%.

That’s what is predicted by GfK in its “GfK Retail Turnover” study about Germany, one of the biggest economies in Europe. Brick and mortar retail sales in the Western European country will hit 408 billion euros, which is a 1% decrease from 2013. Online sales on the other hand, will rise and cause an overall increase in retail turnover amounting to 1.2%.

Challenges for small retailers
GfK market data expert Simone Baecker-Neuchl thinks this forecasted retail turnover reflects changing consumer behavior in Germany. “More than ever before, this year’s increases in online turnover will be at the expense of brick and mortar retail sales. The evolution of retail is in full gear and retailers must develop sound, forward-looking concepts for their online and offline sales channels. The online boom also offers opportunities to stationary retail. But small retailers in particular face significant challenges. It’s now especially vital that retailers position their stores at the right locations and offer consumers an appealing shopping experience and good service.”

German Metro Group embraces ecommerce AND brick and mortar
One of the German companies who’s trying to optimize the interaction between online and offline channels, is Metro Group. Its consumer electronics firm Media-Saturn is Europe’s biggest and saw some fantastic growth. It only launched online sales two year ago, but is heading towards a situation where it makes 10 percent of sales from ecommerce by 2015.

That may be low compared to rivals like Dixons (UK) and Darty (France), as Wkzo puts it, but according to Metro’s CEO Olaf Koch Media-Saturn can trump pure online players by capitalizing on its store network. According to Koch, 44 percent of customers who buy online at Media-Saturn pick their goods up in the store.