Germany is an attractive market for retailers who want to build an online business on an international scale. If this is also your plan - it is worth getting to know this market well and start your expansion from there. What you should know about German e-commerce?
The German market is extremely attractive to online sellers. Germany is the fourth largest economy in the world (GDP over USD 4.22 trillion) and the country is inhabited by over 83 million people. German consumers buy a lot and often, and most of them are familiar with e-commerce (over 62 million online shoppers last year). Germany is also well situated for access in terms of logistics. However, to sell successfully in Germany you still need to meet a number of conditions, learn about the requirements of German customers and address logistics issues (e.g. a local return address).
What characterizes the German consumer on the e-commerce market?
The German consumer likes to take advantage of the benefits of e-commerce and does so eagerly and regularly. According to research, Germans spend EUR 2,088 on online shopping per year, which is the fifth highest amount in Europe. Almost 42% of e-consumers in Germany put products into virtual shopping carts and place orders every week.
Germans are also quite conservative in terms of deliveries - over 50% of respondents prefer home delivery, only 6% decide to use parcel pick-up machines.
And what is the situation with regard to payment for goods purchased online? Here are the preferred payment methods:
- PayPal (54%)
- Klarna (9%)
- Debit card (7%)
- Online transfer (6%)
Despite this, a standard transfer is the second most common form of payment actually chosen - it is used by over 40% of respondents.
It is also worth noting that only 68% of German e-customers have ever bought a product from a foreign store. Therefore, if you want to have access to the largest group of potential customers, it is worth choosing to create a local version of your online store, ideally in the .de domain.
What devices do Germans use?
When it comes to mobile devices, the average usage in Germany is below the global average (39.8% in Germany vs. 54% globally) despite the fact that over 80% of Germans own a smartphone. At the same time, almost 20% of German e-consumers use m-commerce every week.
Therefore, although mobile commerce has not yet reached its peak in this country, mobile devices should certainly not be overlooked in marketing activities in Germany. Another report points out that in the case of the most popular product category (clothing and footwear), more orders come from mobile devices (55% compared to 42% of orders from computers).
What do German consumers buy most often online?
Here is a list of the eight most popular product categories in the German e-commerce industry.
The most popular sales platforms (marketplaces) in Germany
These three trading platforms are the most popular on the German market:
1. Amazon (87% of respondents)
2. eBay (53%)
3. Zalando (27%)
In addition, although this platform was outside the top three, check out Otto.de as well. This marketplace is owned by Otto Group - one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world. More than 11 million customers use Otto.de.
Omnipack will help you sell on popular German marketplaces. We support integration and comply with regulations regarding order processing (e.g. in the Amazon Vendor Order and Fulfillment by Amazon models). We will handle returns, which are also an important part of the shopping process for German consumers (31% consider free returns to be the main factor in choosing an e-shop). That's why platforms like Zalando offer customers free returns for up to 100 days.
Legal requirements for sellers on the German market
Germany is in the EU and uses most of the same regulation for online sales as those found in other EU countries. You can trade in Germany in two ways - either by creating a company in this country (which will of course be subject to German law), or by sending goods from abroad, e.g. from warehouses in Poland. In the second case, it will be necessary to meet the requirements of the VAT OSS procedure. Find out more about e-commerce in Germany:
What information channels can be used to reach German customers?
Focus on using social media to reach German customers. In this country, the number of social media users is well above the global average. These platforms are used by over 86% of German Internet users, while the global average is just over 58%. Research shows that using Facebook Ads in your advertising strategy will give you access to 35% of the audience in this country.
A well-built presence in search engine results will also come in handy. You can achieve this in two ways - with the help of advertising (Google Ads) and optimization activities (SEO), which will help you increase your visibility in organic search results. Market data shows that over 56% of German Internet users do research on a given brand before placing an order.
Fulfillment services to support your sales abroad
When expanding into a new foreign market, logistics can be a challenge. Fulfillment services, i.e. comprehensive logistics outsourcing, can help make your expansion a success. A professional logistics operator specializing in sales abroad, such as Omnipack, will make everything easier for you. We have already been trusted by 100+ companies, most of which sell to many countries.
Our modern warehouse is located in Gorzów Wielkopolski, close to the Polish-German border. Thanks to the convenient location of the warehouse space (6,500 m2), we have short delivery times to 40+ countries, including next-day delivery to Germany! We fully manage cooperation with couriers, shipments and returns. We offer prices for shipments to Germany starting from 2 euros.
At Omnipack, we meet eco standards that are important to German consumers. We offer our customers BREAAM-certified warehouses and eco-recycled packaging.
By using the services of a fulfillment partner, you get valuable assistance in scaling your business. You will easily be able to increase the volume of your shipments as well as the stock area. By using a flexible payment method, you only pay for as much as you sell! Unlike the model of using your own warehouse, you do not need large financial outlays to enjoy the benefits of professional international logistics.
Where do Germans shop online?
The three most popular marketplaces in Germany (offering goods from various product categories) are Amazon, eBay and Otto.de. Individuals can also sell their goods on Facebook Marketplace.
On which platforms should I sell in Germany?
It will be easiest to start with Amazon, because of its size and seller-friendly setup. In addition to Amazon, also consider eBay and Otto.de, and if you are in the fashion industry, also Zalando.
Do Germans shop online?
Definitely! Already more than 62 million Germans (or almost 85% of all inhabitants of this country) have made at least one online purchase. The three most popular product categories in the country are clothing and footwear, electronic products and books/audiobooks.