With a population of 82.9 million, Germany is the most populated country in Europe. With a thriving economy, e-commerce, and otherwise, it also happens to be one of the wealthiest.
In the e-commerce market, Germany ranks as the second-largest in the world, behind the UK. Against the European average, Germany is far ahead in the number of e-commerce consumers, internet penetration, and average online spending, making it a country with an excellent opportunity for e-commerce businesses looking to take some of the pie.
In numbers, the German e-commerce sector was estimated to have reached USD 109.8 billion in 2018, up 10 percent from 2017. The average spend of consumers sits at around USD 867 per person, per year, and the online population is about 72.2 million.
While Germany may appear to follow standard e-commerce trends, a few elements are making this European country quite unique.
Firstly, almost 80 percent of the German population own smartphones, causing m-commerce to be on the rise. In fact, mobile e-commerce is growing faster than any other segment, estimated to have risen at a rate of 12 percent in 2018. eMarketer predicted that mobile purchases would account for 40 percent of digital retail sales in 2019.
What’s more, Germans have unique payment preferences. Rather than making upfront payments, Germans tend to opt for payment plans or creating accounts. PayPal is the most popular method of payment, accounting for the preferences of 52 percent of German internet users, followed by invoice at 26 percent, then comes credit or debit cards at only 12 percent, and then direct debiting at 6 percent, leaving an insignificant 1 percent preferring to pay in cash upon delivery.
They also have some of the highest return rates in the world, thanks to a law allowing consumers to return online purchases within 14 days without explanation.
Top 10 German Ecommerce Sites
While Germany’s e-commerce sector is predictably dominated by the big American e-commerce brands, such as Amazon and eBay, Germany still fosters an e-commerce industry with demand and opportunity aplenty for hungry German brands. As can be seen with the success of local brands Zalando, MediaMarkt, and Otto.
For a complete picture of the German e-commerce market, we dived into data from SimilarWeb to bring you the who’s who in Germany’s e-commerce sector.
Estimated number of monthly visitors: 578.80 million
Amazon is a US-founded e-commerce mega-brand that has been operating since the 90s and had a firm foothold in the German market for quite some time. Amazon Germany is the third-largest website in the country and the third-largest e-commerce site in the world.
Selling a wide range of pretty much everything one can think of, from books to digital media, apparel, electronics, and even video streaming and cloud computing, Amazon Germany has well and truly captivated the German market.
2. eBay Germany
Estimated number of monthly visitors: 229.32 million
Another American e-commerce pioneer, eBay, is an online marketplace allowing customers to buy just about anything from sellers, both individuals, and businesses, through their online auction platform or direct sale. Since its launch in 1995, eBay has expanded across the globe to more than 20 countries.
eBay Germany is the sixth-largest website in the country, offering goods in categories including cars, fashion, home, and electronics, which makes up the largest category for German consumers.
Estimated number of monthly visitors: 148.78 million
eBay Kleinanzeigen, or eBay Classifieds in English, is Germany’s largest classified site allowing users to post free ads and browse a range of goods; new, used, private or commercial.
Founded in 2005, eBay Kleinanzeigen is today the 8th largest website in the country attracting users in the market for anything including automotive, real estate, services, leisure items, home and garden, fashion, and electronics, to name just a few.
Estimated number of monthly visitors: 57.27 million
Otto is a German-born brand that began as a mail-order company in 1949 and transformed into a thriving e-commerce organization to become the largest online department store in Germany. It’s also a significant brand across the world, with the company now operating in 20 countries across Europe, Asia, and America.
Offering a range of items in categories like home, fashion, sports, electronics, and more, Otto attracts a vast German audience, in particular in the homeware, apparel and electronics categories where the brand particularly thrives.
Estimated number of monthly visitors: 55.70 million
Founded in Germany in 2000, Idealo is a price comparison and e-commerce site allowing users to not only compare prices to select the best value items, but purchases can also be made via the platform, making it one of the largest e-commerce sites in the country.
Idealo covers categories including sports and outdoor, baby and children, house and garden, food and drink, gaming, pharmaceuticals, and so much more, making it one of the most comprehensive comparisons and e-commerce sites.
Estimated number of monthly visitors: 33.47 million
Media Markt is a German electronics store, which was founded in 1979 as a brick and mortar store before its presence grew exponentially throughout Europe, reaching to 12 additional countries and gaining even greater success when the brand went online.
Owned by the MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group, MediaMarket is currently the second-largest consumer electronics brand in the world, second only to its American competitor Best Buy.
Estimated number of monthly visitors: 26.84 million
Another German success story, Lidl is a discount supermarket chain offering groceries and other goods, which has become a household name across much of Europe. Since launching in 1930, Lidl has grown to own 10,000 stores in most European countries and even the United States.
Lidl’s e-commerce presence has enabled an even greater foothold into the German market, giving customers all across the country access to their range of discount groceries and goods.
Estimated number of monthly visitors: 23.96 million
Zalando is a German e-commerce business with a specialism in fashion, shoes, beauty, accessories, and sports categories, offering goods from a variety of international and small niche brands, with fashion being its most successful segment.
Since its launch in 2008 by Rocket Internet, Zalando has grown to be an online fashion megabrand across Europe, with operations now in fifteen countries, as well as various international subsidiary companies.
Estimated number of monthly visitors: 22.59 million
Thomann makes an interesting addition to the top 10 as a specialized retailer of music equipment, from musical instruments to studio items such as lighting, pro-audio equipment, and anything else one could need for playing, producing, or showing music.
Founded in 1954, Thomann has become a significant player in the e-commerce sector, with the site serving multiple countries, able to change the language depending on the location of their audience.
Estimated number of monthly visitors: 20.59 million
Owned by MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group, the same owners of electronics giant MediaMarkt, Saturn caters to the consumer electronics market offering electronics in various categories.
Saturn operators both online and in-store across multiple countries, including Austria, Luxembourg, and Russia.