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Germany Online Retailing Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Online Retailing market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Areas covered in this report

This report is designed to give an overview of the German online retail market. This includes a look at the market including forecasts for future developments, in-depth consumer analysis using our own data and a section on the key players in the market including our company profiles.

For our consumer research this year we asked questions on the following topics:

  • Which products consumers have bought online in the last 12 months
  • The retailers used for online shopping in the last 12 months
  • Importance of various features of online retailers
  • Membership of Amazon Prime

What you need to know

Online retail in Germany continues to grow apace, with some 75% of consumers shopping online in the past year according to data from Eurostat and the proportion of all retail sales going online exceeding 10% in 2017 for the first time.

But growth has been inconsistent across different product categories, with clothing and electronics dominating online sales and continuing to grow, while books and hardcopy media appear to have reached maturity with sales declining in 2017.

Meanwhile categories such as food and household goods are only just starting to gain real momentum as retailers in these segments invest heavily in improving availability to customers.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Thomas Slide, a leading analyst in the Retail sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

German e-commerce has continued to experience strong growth but it is dominated by the pureplayers and is skewed heavily towards particularly product categories. While the clothing and electrical sectors are now well-established online, other categories, including food, remain remarkably underdeveloped, providing the potential for further growth in the future. Thomas Slide
Retail Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Areas covered in this report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • The economy
              • Online sales
                • Segmentation/what they buy online
                  • Figure 1: Germany: online sales by product category, 2017
                • Broadband access
                  • Leading players
                    • Key metrics
                      • Figure 2: Germany: leading online retailers’ shares of online sales, 2017
                    • The consumer
                      • What they buy online
                        • Figure 3: Germany: products purchased online in the last 12 months, May 2018
                      • Where they shop online
                        • Figure 4: Germany: retailers bought from online in the last 12 months, May 2018
                      • Important features of online retailers
                        • Figure 5: Germany: important features of retailers when shopping online, May 2018
                      • Membership of Amazon Prime
                        • Figure 6: Germany: membership of Amazon Prime, May 2018
                      • What we think
                      • Issues and Insights

                        • Is now the time for multichannel retailers?
                          • The facts
                            • The implications
                              • Grocery e-commerce – an update
                                • The facts
                                  • The implications
                                  • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                    • German economy continues to grow
                                      • Online sales grow 10.9%
                                        • Clothing and electronics are the biggest categories
                                          • Broadband access hits 92%
                                            • 84% of German consumers own a smartphone
                                              • Three-quarters of Germans shop online
                                              • Market Size

                                                • The economy
                                                  • Online sales and forecasts
                                                    • Figure 7: Germany: online sales (incl VAT), 2013-18
                                                    • Figure 8: Germany: online sales (incl VAT), forecasts, 2018-23
                                                  • Segmentation/What they buy online
                                                    • Clothing and electronics account for half of online spending
                                                      • Food still underrepresented despite growth
                                                          • Figure 9: Germany: online sales by product category, incl VAT, 2017
                                                        • Household goods the fastest growing category
                                                          • Could books be the first category to reach online maturity?
                                                            • Figure 10: Germany: growth in online spending by product category, 2016-17
                                                        • Market Drivers

                                                          • Broadband access hits 92%
                                                            • Figure 11: Germany: broadband penetration, % all households, 2008-17
                                                          • 84% own a smartphone
                                                            • Figure 12: Germany: technology products personally owned, Q3 2017
                                                          • PC still the most popular way to access the internet
                                                            • Figure 13: Germany: devices used to access the internet in the last three months, Q3 2017
                                                          • Migration online continues
                                                            • Figure 14: Germany: percentage saying they have bought online in the last year, 2013-17
                                                        • Leading Players – What You Need to Know

                                                          • Amazon’s domination continues
                                                            • eBay is now the slowest growing of the leading online players
                                                              • Ceconomy enjoys strong growth away from Metro Group
                                                                • Amazon continues to grow its share of the market
                                                                • Leading Players

                                                                  • Amazon’s continues to dominate
                                                                    • eBay the slowest growing of the leading online players
                                                                      • Otto Group sales boosted by launch of marketplace
                                                                        • Zalando keeps on growing
                                                                          • Ceconomy sees strong growth away from Metro Group
                                                                            • Figure 15: Germany: leading online retailers, sales, 2015-17
                                                                        • Market Shares

                                                                            • Diverging fortunes for the American giants
                                                                              • Figure 16: Germany: leading online retailers’ shares of all online sales, 2015-17
                                                                          • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                            • Clothing the most popular online purchase
                                                                              • Amazon dominates German e-commerce
                                                                                • Free returns are the most important feature
                                                                                  • 31% are members of Amazon Prime
                                                                                  • What They Buy Online

                                                                                    • 92% of internet users have shopped online
                                                                                      • Almost two-thirds buy clothing online
                                                                                        • Food and drink remain relatively niche
                                                                                          • Figure 17: Germany: products purchased online in the last 12 months, May 2018
                                                                                        • All demographics shop for clothing online
                                                                                          • Similar story for electronics
                                                                                            • DIY/gardening attracts an older and more affluent customer
                                                                                              • Figure 18: Germany: products purchased online in the last 12 months, by age and affluence, May 2018
                                                                                          • Where They Shop Online?

                                                                                            • Amazon dominates German e-commerce
                                                                                              • Store-based retailers were slow to get going
                                                                                                • Figure 19: Germany: retailers bought from online in the last 12 months, May 2018
                                                                                              • Broad appeal of Amazon…
                                                                                                • …leaves others looking niche
                                                                                                  • Figure 20: Germany: profile of shoppers by retailer bought from online in the last 12 months, May 2018
                                                                                              • Important Features of Online Retailers

                                                                                                • Free returns are vital for online shoppers
                                                                                                  • Price is an important driver of online shopping
                                                                                                    • German consumers don’t need stores
                                                                                                      • Figure 21: Germany: important features of retailers when shopping online, May 2018
                                                                                                    • Price-conscious older shoppers
                                                                                                      • Express delivery appeals to the young
                                                                                                        • Figure 22: Germany: extremely important factors, by average age and household income, May 2018
                                                                                                      • Important features by what they buy
                                                                                                        • Free delivery and returns especially important for clothing shoppers
                                                                                                          • Figure 23: Germany: extremely important features of online retailers, clothing shoppers compared to the average, May 2018
                                                                                                        • While electronics shoppers look for range and ease of navigation
                                                                                                          • Figure 24: Germany: extremely important features of online retailers, consumer electronic shoppers compared to the average, May 2018
                                                                                                        • Online food and drink shoppers most likely to want physical stores
                                                                                                          • Figure 25: Germany: online shoppers describing physical stores as an ‘extremely important’ feature of an online retailer, percentage point difference from the average, May 2018
                                                                                                      • Membership of Amazon Prime

                                                                                                        • 31% are currently members of Amazon Prime
                                                                                                          • Figure 26: Germany: membership of Amazon Prime, May 2018
                                                                                                        • Young parents see the appeal of Prime
                                                                                                          • Figure 27: Germany: membership of Amazon Prime, by age, May 2018
                                                                                                      • Appendix: Data sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                        • Abbreviations
                                                                                                          • Data sources
                                                                                                          • Amazon.com

                                                                                                              • What we think
                                                                                                                • Geographical expansion
                                                                                                                  • Prime
                                                                                                                    • Marketplace
                                                                                                                      • AWS
                                                                                                                        • Profitability
                                                                                                                          • What next?
                                                                                                                            • Food
                                                                                                                              • Clothing
                                                                                                                                • Electricals and others
                                                                                                                                  • Company background
                                                                                                                                    • Company performance
                                                                                                                                      • Published sales and total sales volumes
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 28: Amazon: sales breakdown by source of income, 2015-17
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 29: Amazon: sales breakdown by source of income, 2017
                                                                                                                                        • First quarter 2018
                                                                                                                                          • Gross merchandise volume (GMV)
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 30: Amazon: estimated group gross merchandise volume, 2015-17
                                                                                                                                            • GMV by country
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 31: Amazon.com Inc: group financial performance, 2013-17
                                                                                                                                            • UK sales by product
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 32: Amazon UK: estimated sales by product, 2017
                                                                                                                                            • Retail offering
                                                                                                                                            • eBay

                                                                                                                                                • What we think
                                                                                                                                                  • Marketplace
                                                                                                                                                    • No longer a fast-growing business
                                                                                                                                                      • Progress in 2017
                                                                                                                                                        • Shortcomings vs Amazon
                                                                                                                                                          • What next?
                                                                                                                                                            • Company background
                                                                                                                                                              • Company performance
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 33: eBay: group gross merchandise volume, 2013-17
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 34: eBay: major markets, estimated growth in GMV in local currency, 2014-17
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 35: eBay Europe: sales, excluding VAT, 2015-17
                                                                                                                                                              • Retail offering
                                                                                                                                                              • Otto Group (Multichannel Retail)

                                                                                                                                                                  • What we think
                                                                                                                                                                    • Marketplace development widening product choice and attracting new customers
                                                                                                                                                                      • ABOUT YOU doubles sales
                                                                                                                                                                        • ‘Conversational commerce’
                                                                                                                                                                          • Sports lifestyle hub
                                                                                                                                                                            • Parcel shops, micro depots and trunk delivery
                                                                                                                                                                              • Using augmented reality technology to make choosing the right product easier
                                                                                                                                                                                • Otto Now expanded to include over 100 products
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Company background
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Company performance
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 36: Otto Group (Multichannel Retail): group sales performance, 2013/14-2017/18
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 37: Otto Group: major brands within the Multichannel Retail segment, 2017/18
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Retail offering
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Zalando

                                                                                                                                                                                          • What we think
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Complementary beauty category offering
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Pop-up an opportunity to raise awareness of the online style advisory service
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Growing role of personalisation
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Scaling up logistics network and order fulfilment options
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Rising fulfilment costs a sign of things to come?
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Local and regional-specific payment options boosting basket size and conversion rates
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Company background
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Company performance
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 38: Zalando: group financial performance, 2013-17
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 39: Zalando: key metrics, 2015-Q1 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Retail offering