E-commerce in Germany: Facts and Figures 2016

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E-commerce in Germany is in continuous growth and while large German retailers dominate the market, there is still space for small e-commerce players to make their mark. The top 10 e-commerce websites make up a quarter of online revenue, while 5 years ago this figure corresponded to just one fifth1.

Let’s take a look at some of the key facts and figures for the German market in 2016.


E-commerce in Germany

Great potential for e-commerce in Germany

Germany has 80.69 million habitants (2016 figures), and of these, 89% use the internet2.

Internet use in Germany


E-commerce growth and market share

According to We Are Social, 74% of German Internet users made a purchase online in 20153. These sales contributed to a sales growth of 23.1% in 2015, which is expected to increase by 18.3% in 20164. This growth is visible on the retail trade market, on which online sales represented 12% in 2015. This figure is expected to increase to 14% in 20164 states Retail Research.

Online share of retail trade in Germany


Online retailers

Top e-commerce sites in Germany

Although international players are in the top 2 places, Otto, MediaMarkt, Lidl and Conrad also feature in the top e-commerce website ranking, showing that Germans are generally loyal to their own market5.


German consumer behaviour

What do German consumers buy?

Clothing, books and home electronics are the most popular product categories in Germany6.

Top product categories in Germany


Cross-border e-commerce and Germany

53% of German Internet users bought a product from a foreign country in 2015⁶, which is actually quite high when compared with other European countries.  When purchasing abroad, German consumers are more likely to buy a product from the UK, the United States or China.

Top 3 countries German consumers buy from  


Logistics and German e-commerce

Top delivery methods in Germany

According to Metapack, home delivery is by far the most popular delivery method (92%) followed by delivery to a pick-up point (21%) and click-and-collect (20%)7.

Top 3 delivery methods

Top payment methods

Bevh states that the top payment method in Germany is credit or debit card (29% of transactions)8  followed by invoices and digital payments in second and third place respectively.

Top online payment methods



M-commerce in Germany

There are 107.6 million mobile connections in Germany, which is equivalent to 133% of the population2. According to eSales4u, 63.4% of the top 1000 online stores have adapted their site for mobile devices and 40% of pure players have a mobile-optimised website or a dedicated application9.

Number of mobile connections


E-commerce traffic on mobile

When comparing mobile traffic, we can see that smartphones take the majority with 56%, while tablets come in at 44%10.

Share of mobile traffic per device


Online advertising and e-commerce in Germany

Share of digital ad spend

In 2015, digital ad spending represented 27.8% of total media ad spending in Germany. eMarketer expects this to increase to 31.8% by 2019.

Share of digital in total media ad spend


What challenges are online retailers to face in Germany?

There are several points to take away from the German e-commerce market:

  • The majority of revenue (24.95 million euros) goes to large marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, followed by multi-channel sellers (13.97 million euros) and pure players (6.3 million euros)8.
  • Physical contact remains important in commerce, and this is exactly why more and more online shops are opening (or plan to open) a physical store1.
  • The most important buying criteria for Germans are: simple returns, low prices and fast delivery6.
  • Data exploitation is opening up many possibilities for personalisation in 2016. However, with a general lack of knowledge and time being a key issue, many online retailers are turning to automated solutions.


[1] Süddeutsche Zeitung: Online allein reicht nicht
[2] We Are Social: 2016 digital Yearbook
[3] We Are Social: Digital in 2016
[4] Retail Research: Online Retailing: Britain, Europe, US and Canada 2016
[5] Similar Web: Website Ranking
[6] Postnord: E-commerce in Europe 2015
[7] MetaPack: Delivering Consumer Choice: Report
[8] Bevh: Aktuelle Zahlen zum Interaktiven Handel
[9] eSales4u: Studie zum E-Commerce-Markt Deutschland 2015
[10] Twenga Solutions: M-Commerce in Europa 2015
[11] eMarketer: How does global digital ad spending vary by region and industry?


E-commerce in Europe 2016

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