Germany - Country Commercial Guide
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Germany has one of the largest e-commerce markets in Europe. The number of e-commerce consumers, internet penetration and average amount spent per year is above the European average. In 2022, total sales were estimated at USD 141.2 billion, which translates to 11 percent growth compared to 2021. It is expected that the online population in Germany will increase from 62.4 million in 2020 up to 68.4 million in 2025. E-commerce penetration in 2022 reached 80 percent in the German market, the third highest worldwide. As a result of strict COVID lockdown measures throughout 2020 and 2021, many German consumers have increased their online purchases and bought goods like groceries and sanitary items online for the very first time. Key reasons for consumers to shop online include home delivery (69 percent of online shoppers in Germany agree), 24/7 availability (64 percent), and convenience (60 percent).
German consumers are rather risk-averse and expect high quality products. Websites and online stores are expected to be in German language.
Smartphone penetration in Germany lies at 82 percent, with a social media penetration of 53 percent. The role of social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube or Instagram continues to be of high importance. 

Popular e-Commerce Sites

The most popular online retailers in Germany in 2021 were (net sales of USD 18.6 billion), (USD 6.1 billion), (USD 3.0 billion), (USD 2.8 billion), and (USD 2.1 billion). Combined, those five online retailers share 26 percent of the German E-Commerce market

Product Categories

The most popular products purchased online include clothing (76 percent of online shoppers), shoes (73 percent), food & drinks (69 percent), consumer electronics (61 percent), books/movies/games (58 percent) and healthcare products (56 percent). It is further expected that toys and “Do it Yourself” (DIY) products will play an increasingly crucial role by 2025. Consumers are most price-sensitive in the clothing and food industries, whereas luxury product sales are most common for smartphones and shoes.

Online Payment 

When it comes to payment, the most common methods are purchase on invoice, PayPal, direct debit and credit cards. Many websites accept bank transfers or invoice/buy now, pay later. Online customers have the right to cancel orders and return goods or services within 14 days, for any reason and with no justification. As a result, Germany is known for its high return rate, particularly in the fashion industry, where it is estimated that 44 percent of products purchased were returned in 2022.

Mobile e-Commerce

The strong e-commerce market in Germany can be attributed to the considerable proportion of the population who owns smartphones (82 percent). In 2022, 66 percent of online purchases were made via smartphone. This growth is likely to continue as retailers improve their mobile websites and provide more convenient ways of shopping on mobile devices.