Expand into Germany: the biggest ecommerce market in Europe

It is said that Germans love rules, punctuality, efficiency, cars, beer and sausages. They know how to work around their schedules, but also how to play football and celebrate at Christmas markets. Cliches aside, in the world of business, Germans are associated with their national brand: the ‘Made in Germany’ quality of products.

The perception of the German brand around the world matters. So does the image of the German shopper: the German buyer is smart, savvy and well acquainted with online shopping.

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What is the German marketplace like?

Germany is the 5th largest country online. It is also the 2nd largest eCommerce market and most populated country in Europe with over 80 million consumers.

Distinctive qualities of the German marketplace are the high Internet penetration rate (83%) with 91% of the 30-49 age group purchasing regularly online, but also slowing growth.

The special profile of the German buyer makes it necessary for online sellers to treat local shoppers with special attention. For instance, Germans have more private personalities than Brits, so their level of trust  in e-commerce is much lower. To illustrate this, merely 20% of German consumers pay with credit cards, 45% preferring bank invoices for online shopping.

The German marketplace can be associated with:

  • The German language
  • Biggest market in Europe
  • Reliable logistics & infrastructure
  • High return rates
  • Demanding consumers
  • Consumer values such as trust, security, familiarity, loyalty
  • Quality proof
  • Importance of e-commerce legislation

Online sales: Basic facts

  • The platform with the greatest turnover is (EUR 4.8 billion), followed by (EUR 1.7 billion).
  • As to cross-border shopping, German online shoppers mostly buy from the UK (11.1 million), the US (8.6 million) and China (6.2 million).

Best sellers

The highest sales in eCommerce were generated in the apparel category (EUR 11.9 billion), followed by consumer electronics (EUR 5 billion) and books (EUR 4.1 billion)

Webinterpret has also carried out research on the best-selling categories among British sellers selling internationally. Check our eCommerce guidebook for more information!

Shipping: Increasing demand for flexible logistic solutions

WIth the national mail service (Deutsche Post) privatised, Germany stands out from other industrialised countries. The eCommerce boom has created new challenges for parcel service providers. The increased B2C traffic means higher total shipment costs and more decentralised deliveries.

Buying Behaviour: Present & Future

How are products ordered?

  • 75% from computers
  • 14% from tablets
  • 12% from phones

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Source: Demandware

Find out more!

Find out more about the top marketplaces, local buyer behaviour, trends, forecasts and international sales facts.

You can download our FREE eCommerce guidebook with insights on top marketplaces, ALL in ONE place NOW!

Other sources

Germany. Cross-Border Ecommerce Report. Critical Facts and Insights for International Expansion. The Paypers. 2014. r

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