Deutschland uber alles

Apr 27, 2015

Germany is riding high these days. With its visible eco-political role within Europe, it is an economic powerhouse, a fact reflected in its adoption of online retail. With its population of 80 million, in 2013 it had more than 42 million digital shoppers. Accounting for 68% of the region's total eCommerce turnover, or €63.4bn, it is the largest eCommerce market in continental Europe.

Internet penetration is very high, at 86%. The most active group of online shoppers is, unsurprisingly, the 15-to 29-year-olds. However, the number of buyers aged 65 and up has being growing steadily. In 2013, B2C multichannel online and mail order generated a turnover of €48.3 billion. At present, this represents a mere 9% of the €428 billion German retail industry. With online sales forecast to grow at a rate of 20%, this makes Germany a particularly lucrative market for e-tailers.

Germans have embraced online shopping, with 43% of online shoppers responding that they would increase their online purchasing. With a reputation for being savvy shoppers, Germans are champions of the return. They do favour purchasing particular products online, an average 61% on apparel, and 56% on healthcare and cosmetics. In 2013, experience related products -flight, train, and bus ticket sales amounted to over €4 billion, followed by travel packages at €2.9 billion, and event tickets at €1 billion. German companies earn one in every six euros online. Those who remain wary of buying goods online still use the internet for research, with one in three in-store purchases made thus. This amounts to €92 billion or two thirds of total in-store turnover. 53% of all online users connect to the internet through a hand-held device- be it a smartphone or tablet. This number is over 50% greater than those from 2012.

  • In 2013, 14.1 million online cross-border shoppers spent EUR7.6 billion, expected to reach 15.8 million online shoppers with spend of up to EUR11.0 billion a year by 2018.

  • Top five cross-border purchase categories: clothes, shoes and accessories; home electronics; health and beauty products; personal electronics; and airline tickets.

  • Where they shop: US (48%), UK (46%), Austria (33%), China (17%), Netherlands (16%).

Things aren't too shabby for B2B eCommerce either. In 2012, this sector generated €870 billion. The Association of the German Internet Industry, projects that by 2017, 53% of German GDP will be e-commerce related (as compared to 37% in 2012).

So what does this mean? Germany is setting the pace for eCommerce in Europe. While still behind the UK, it leads on the Continent. Conveniently bridging Asia and America, cross border e-trade in Europe can only continue to increase. While top cross-border purchases are currently focussed on apparel/accessories, electronics, health and beauty, and travel, it is only a matter of time before food stuffs start crossing the borders crisscrossing Europe. Olives from Greece? No problem. Fromage from France? Sure thing. The world may be your oyster, but now you can have it delivered to you too.

Category: news

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