German B2C eCommerce sales saw double-digit growth for April to June 2017 – a 12% increase on the same period in 2016.
Higher than expected sales across a range of eCommerce products; including digital goods, travel services, food, and home furnishings were reported by bevh, the Federal Association for E-Commerce and Mail Order.
September 2017’s German Federal Election, the ‘Brexit’ effect, and upcoming EU tax and regulatory reforms have not put a dent in sector optimism or consumer spending. It’s predicted that B2C eCommerce sales will increase by more than 11% in 2017 to US$65 billion.
Germany is Europe’s second-largest eCommerce market. Opportunities are on the increase. Around 50 million German people will buy online in 2018. It’s also the most advanced and innovative eCommerce market on the continent and comes with its own localization needs. German customers have their own culture when it comes to browsing, and delivery and payment preferences.
For example, while 71% of online shoppers in the UK prefer to use ‘click and collect’ as a delivery option – a mere 26% of German buyers favour this method. Annual subscription fees for couriers are popular in Germany and unheard of in the UK.
While Europe’s largest courier companies are rolling out drone deliveries to some of the more remote parts of Germany, the rest of Europe is far behind.
However, not all sectors follow the same buying patterns. 64% of shoppers in Germany prefer to research health and beauty products in store, 47% of shoppers will purchase household appliances online. (PwC)
Germany’s consumers are also tech-savvy. 45% start their product searches on Amazon, indicating that they are keen to shop around for deals – even if it means coming back to their first website to buy. Germany is also onboard with mobile eCommerce – a mere 23% think mobile sites are hard to use. (Also PwC).
32% of eCommerce sales were mobile purchases in 2015, 38% in 2016, with 16% of sales coming from smartphones and 16% from tablet devices, according to research conducted by PFS, an eCommerce development agency.
Developing lasting strategies
It adds: ‘over 60% of large online commerce stores support omnichannel initiatives, with many more looking to expand and develop their solutions.’
Germany is a popular cross-border shopping destination for neighbouring European countries, obviously in the DACH community of Austria and Switzerland, but also Italy and Spain.
German shoppers use open invoice and direct debit payment types, which is almost unique in Europe.
One thing that isn’t unique is the spike in holiday spending. German consumers spend big in the run-up to Christmas and New Year holiday –spending an estimated US$12.5 billion online each year.
‘As the second largest eCommerce market in Europe and the second most populous nation on the continent, Germany offers a buyer-rich landscape for retailers looking to capitalize on the European market. Fulfilment infrastructures are well developed and shoppers have a large and increasing disposable income (approximately $31,000 or €27,700 for an average household per year).’ (PFS).
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By Ben Whittacker-Cook