The German B2C ecommerce market is one of the biggest in the world. There are significant opportunities for retailers looking to enter international markets.

88.58% of the population are internet users, and this figure is growing steadily. German GDP has also increased over previous years and the country has the world’s best-developed logistics infrastructure.

That said, there are challenges, particularly as they relate to security, online payment, and environmental and ethical concerns. German growth has also been stagnating over previous years.

In this post, we’re going to take a look at the main stats, trends, and forecasts for the German ecommerce market.

What will you find in this article?

Overview
Market Size
Most Popular Online Stores
Key Metrics for German Ecommerce
Global Comparison
Other Key Trends and Statistics
Forecasts and Looking Ahead
Conclusion

Sounds good? Let’s get started.

Overview

The German URL country code is .de, the official language is German, and the currency is the euro (EUR). It has a population of 82,790,700. German GDP per capita was 39,698 EUR in 2017.

Overview of German market

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Market Size

Germany is the fifth-largest ecommerce market in the world. The total projected revenue for 2019 is 57.8 billion euros. It is the second-largest market in Europe after the UK. It is viewed by many as one of the primary drivers of the digital European economy.

Germany is the fifth-largest ecommerce market in the world. The total projected revenue for 2019 is 57.8 billion euros. It is the second-largest market in Europe after the UK. Click To Tweet
Top 10 largest ecommerce markets
Germany is the fifth-largest ecommerce market in the world. (Source)

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The most popular online stores (in order) are Amazon, Otto, Zalando, Notebooksbilliger, MediaMarkt, Lidl, Bonprix, Cyberport, Conrad, and Alternate. Amazon accounts for a whopping 27% of all ecommerce sales.

Amazon is the undisputed giant in the room when it comes to German ecommerce and, despite strong competition, it is not expected to lose this foothold in the near future.
Top 10 German stores
Amazon is the largest ecommerce store in Germany, with Otto and Zalando coming in second and third.

Key Metrics for German Ecommerce

The average conversion rate in Germany is 2.22%. This is a comparatively high conversion rate, surpassing that of the United States and the UK. It’s important, however, to understand that the German ecommerce market also has one of the highest return rates in the world, up to 70% for some sectors.

The average order value (AOV) for Germany is 138 euros per order online. This is higher than the global average.

Mobile accounts for 50% of all online transactions. Mcommerce will account for 40% of sales in 2019, which represents 12% growth from the previous year. As with virtually all other worldwide ecommerce markets, mobile is accounting for an increasing number of visits, transactions, and revenue.

Global Comparison

Germany has experienced consistent growth since 2000. The rate of growth, however, has been falling incrementally since 2010. Growth in 2019 is expected to be 8.5%.

Germany has experienced consistent growth since 2000. The rate of growth, however, has been falling incrementally since 2010. Growth in 2019 is expected to be 8.5%. Click To Tweet

For some commentators, this growth is slower than anticipated. Lower B2C ecommerce growth is most likely a symptom of a broader economic slowdown. Towards the end of 2019, many are predicting that the German economy may dip into recession.
Sales in ecommerce in Germany - graph
The German B2C online retail market is predicted to grow by 8.5% through 2019.
The German growth rate is around half the worldwide average, which is expected to be 20.7% in 2019. Emerging markets, particularly Asia-Pacific, are responsible for driving the global average up.
Retail ecommerce sales worldwide 2017-2023
Germany’s growth rate is lower than the worldwide average of 20.7% in 2019.
That said, however, overall growth for Western Europe is the lowest worldwide. Germany’s growth rate is only two percentage points below the European average. It’s necessary to view the German market, which is comparatively well-established, in the context of emerging markets like Asia-Pacific and Latin America when evaluating growth. These markets are developing very quickly but are not as stable as European and North American markets.
Retail ecommerce sales growth worldwide by region
Western Europe is the region experiencing the lowest overall growth. Asia-Pacific is steaming ahead with 25% growth.

Here’s a quick rundown of some other key trends and statistics:

Security, Personalization, and AI

Security concerns around personal data have become increasingly prominent, fuelled in part by GDPR. It would appear that the new GDPR legislation has negatively impacted German ecommerce. Website visits decreased by nearly 10%.

Like in other sectors, personalization is a major focus for many retailers. Many retailers are spending millions of euros investing in personalization.

Artificial intelligence (A.I.) is driving new experiences for German consumers and helping big retailers streamline their operations.

Average Revenue per User (ARPU)

Average revenue per user (ARPU): $1,093.76. This figure is calculated by dividing the total number of users by total revenue.
Average revenue per user in Germany
Average revenue per user is expected to hit 1,458.33 USD in 2023.

Payment Methods

Paypal is the most popular payment method. Invoicing accounts for 26% of all transactions. Germany is unique in the sense that invoices are used for the majority of online purchases.
Notably, debit and credit cards account for less than a quarter of all online payments. This is in contrast to most other countries.
The most popular payment methods in Germany
Paypal is the most-preferred payment method among German online shoppers. (Source)

Largest Sectors

Electronics and Media is the largest ecommerce sector, with revenue in 2019 forecast at 19,880 million US Dollars. Clothing is the second biggest online retail sector, with predicted revenue of 18,817.8 million US Dollars. Toys, Hobby and DIY comes in at 15,837.8 USD, Furniture and Appliances at 10854.3 USD and Food and Personal Care at 8,838.5 USD
The largest ecommerce sectors in Germany
Electronics and fashion are far-and-away the biggest ecommerce sectors. (Source)

Cross-Border Purchases

The European Union is the most significant source of cross-border purchases (products shipped into Germany from other countries). China and the US account for 44% and 32% respectively.
Germany cross-border purchases
Europe is the largest source of German cross-border purchases. China comes in second.

Forecasts and Looking Ahead

The outlook for Germany is generally positive. It is expected to stay the best in the world for logistical efficiency. And internet penetration, which is already high, will continue to grow.

Personalization, AI, and ethical considerations will become more important to consumers. German consumers are increasingly ethically-minded and more brands are catering to this trait in the ecommerce market, especially when targeting millennials.

Amazon.de is expected to maintain its top position but competition from other big stores, like Otto and eBay, is becoming stronger.

Many forecasters are eager to see how Brexit will impact German ecommerce sales. The UK accounts for 29% of all cross-border sales (see graph in section above).

Here are some more notable stats:

Online shopping customer behavior in Germany
Clothing and Books are the most popular mobile shopping categories. (Source)

Conclusion

Germany is an interesting market because it has several unique characteristics when compared to other countries, especially the UK and US.

It has a very large number of online shoppers and high internet penetration, for example, along with the best logistics network in the world. Growth has been consistent over the last decade and remains relatively stable despite shrinking.

But there are also obstacles. Chief among these is an unusually high return rate and a lack of online presence among brick-and-mortar retailers.

With all of this in mind, there are excellent opportunities for retailers looking to enter the German market, especially in the active fashion and electronics sector.

In the coming years, it will be interesting to see how Germany fares in comparison to emerging Asia-Pacific, African, and South American markets.

Top Sources

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Growcode Ecommerce Blog / Bez kategorii / Ecommerce in Germany – Trends, Forecasts and Statistics

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