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.
Sounds good? Let’s get started.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here’s a quick rundown of some other key trends and statistics:
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%.
Artificial intelligence (A.I.) is driving new experiences for German consumers and helping big retailers streamline their operations.
Average revenue per user (ARPU): $1,093.76. This figure is calculated by dividing the total number of users by total revenue.
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.
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 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.
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:
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.
We’ve researched the biggest trends in 2019 and gathered them together. Make sure your ecommerce store is prepared for the future. Download our free, in-depth guide on the topic: The Top 51 Ecommerce Trends for 2019.