The most successful market entrants are those that offer innovative products featuring high quality and modern styling. Germans are responsive to innovative high-tech U.S. products, such as computers, computer software, electronic components, health care and medical devices, synthetic materials, and automotive technology. While Germany possesses an above-average Internet penetration rate within the EU for private households, high-speed internet access for business is only slightly above average. Multi-media, high-tech and service areas offer great potential. Certain agricultural products also represent good export prospects for U.S. producers. In many cases, price is not the overriding factor for German buyers, but instead quality and reliability.
The German market is decentralized and diverse, with interests and tastes differing from one German region to another. Successful market strategies consider regional differences as part of a strong national market presence. Experienced representation is a major asset to any market strategy, given that the primary competitors for most American products are domestic firms with established presences. U.S. firms can overcome such stiff competition by offering high-quality products and services at competitive prices, and locally based after-sales support. For investors, Germany’s relatively high marginal tax rates and complicated tax laws may constitute an obstacle, although deductions, allowances and write-offs help to move effective tax rates to internationally competitive levels.