• Jonas S. Müller

Statistics About the E-Commerce Market in Germany

Updated: Apr 7

Updated with the available data for 2020.



All of our lives changed quite rapidly over the last decade. The digital technology shapes how we live. Even though Germany might not be the pioneer in digitalization, the digital transformation still also arrived in almost everyone's everyday life in Germany. The current corona crises only increase this trend as digital technology helps us to get through the pandemic.


Since the digital trend also changes how consumers buy their products, we want to show you some interesting statistics about the e-commerce market in Germany. For that we extracted and analyzed the data provided by Eurostat.


The e-commerce market in Germany is larger than the economy of Slovakia.


The e-commerce market in Germany


The shopping behavior of Germans also became more digital. More and more Germans use the possibility to participate in the electronic marketplace. In 2020, three out of four people in Germany stated that they shopped online in the previous three months. Meanwhile, it is expected that the revenue in e-commerce in Germany reached an all-time high of 95 bn Euros in 2020 for B2C goods (source: Statista, 2021) - which is higher than the GDP of Slovakia.


The current corona crises increased this long-term trend as the growths in e-commerce in Germany accelerated to 16.5 percent year on year in the second quarter (Statista 2020) and has a profound impact on the market (bevh 2020b, Jansen 2020, among others).


As selling online gains relevance and momentum, we want to show you the most important and interesting facts and trends about German's online shopping behavior.


More people in Germany buy online than you would (perhaps) think

This might be surprising for some as Germany is often considered as lagging behind in digital transformation: People in Germany shop more online than people in the EU do in average. Actually, Germans also buy more online than people in the old, western part of the block (the EU15). That means that Germany is not only the biggest country in the EU and the biggest economy in Europe but also is a highly relevant market for e-commerce. In fact, Germany is the second largest e-commerce market in Europe, just behind Great Britain (at least in 2019).



Percentage of people who stated that they purchased online in the previous 3 months

EU 15: data for 2019 and 2020 not available

Source: Eurostat [isoc_ec_ibuy] & [isoc_ec_ib20]




Online purchases from online shops abroad


Good news for foreign online shops selling to Germany: more and more people in Germany buy from online shops abroad. In 2019, more than one out of those who stated that they purchased in the previous year bought from foreign online shops while in 2014, only one out of five did that.


See more statistics about Germans buying from international online shops

Percentage of people in Germany who bought in the previous year from online shops abroad

Data for 2020 not available yet

Source: Eurostat




Check out how we will help you to kick-start and boost your online sales in Germany




Analysis of online shoppers in Germany


For the analysis of the following questions, we take the data from people who stated that they purchased in the previous three months online. This way, we want to make sure that the essential data is shown, the data of these 75 percent of people in Germany who actually buy online.


In 2020, 75 % of Germans purchased in the previous three months online - those are categorized as online shoppers for further analyses.



How often do Germans buy online?


Seventy-three percent of online shoppers placed three or more orders online. Thirty-five percent purchased six times or more, while sixteen percent made even ten or more orders.


Frequency of online shoppers purchasing online in the last 3 month

In Germany, 2020

Online shoppers: people who purchased online in the previous 3 months

Source: Eurostat


How much money do Germans spend online?

This is perhaps one of the most important questions: how much money do people spend online in Germany? Two out of three German online shoppers spent more than 100 Euros at that time, and seventeen percent spent 500 Euros or even more during these three months. This means that online shoppers in Germany also spent quite a pretty amount of money on the online marketplace in Germany.

How much money online shoppers spent online in the previous 3 months

In Germany, 2019 - data for 2020 not available yet

Online shoppers: people who purchased online in the previous 3 months

Source: Eurostat

Age of online shoppers in Germany


The examination of online shoppers by social-economical segments shows that there is no noteworthy difference among the society, except by age group. Whereas for Germans that buy from online shops abroad we can see some interesting social-economical differences.


Regarding the age group, we see that, especially among the population younger than 55, many people buy online. By the way, teenagers buy less online than young adults above between 20-24. That might be due to their lower disposable income. The most active age group is the one between 25 and 34. Nine out of ten Germans between 25 and 34 shopped online in the previous three months. Whereas people older than 54, as expected, buy less over the internet. Still, almost 60 percent of those between 55 and 64 and a solid 40 percent of people between 65 and 74 shop online which edges up to over 10 m online shopper older than 54.


Percentage of online shoppers in Germany, by age group

In Germany, 2020

Line: average

Online shoppers: people who purchased online in the previous 3 months

Source: Eurostat


How about the other German-speaking countries Austria and Switzerland?

Having Germany as a targeted country also always comes along with the option to expand to other German-speaking countries. This allows expanding the market to roughly 100 m people in total. Having this in mind, it might be interesting to see how many people in Switzerland and Austria shop online.

Percentage of online shoppers in the German-speaking countries in 2020

Date for 2020 for Switzerland not available yet

Line: EU 27 (excl. UK)

Online shoppers: people who purchased online in the previous 3 months

Source: Eurostat

Switzerland is a highly interesting country to expand to for online shops who already sell to Germany. The high level of wealth, the low VAT rate of around seven percent, and the high share of people who buy online make it a profitable country to sell too. Unfortunately, the customs procedure makes some preparatory and administrative work necessary, which European companies do not have elsewhere in Western Europe. For Austria, there might not be such good arguments to export to as for Switzerland. But it is easy to export to Austria as well since the country is in the EU.




Sources:

  • bevh (2020a): Die Lage des E-Commerce in Zahlen, bevh.org/corona/corona-barometer.html [12.05.2020]

  • bevh (2020b): bevh.org/presse/pressemitteilungen/details/e-commerce-plus-von-92-prozent-im-1-halbjahr-2020-dauerhaft-mehr-e-commerce-beim-taeglichen-beda.html [12.05.2020]

  • Eurostat (2020): Internet purchases by individuals, isoc_ec_ibuy [10.03.2021]

  • Eurostat (2021): Internet purchases by individuals (2020 onwards), isoc_ec_ib20 [10.03.2021]

  • Händlerbund (2020): haendlerbund.de/de/news/presse/3297-corona-studie-handel-2020r [12.05.2020]

  • Jansen (2020): brandeins.de/magazine/brand-eins-wirtschaftsmagazin/2020/die-neue-konsumgesellschaft/wie-geht-konsumgesellschaft-ohne-konsum [03.11.2020]

  • Statista (2021): Ecommerce Germany, de.statista.com/outlook/dmo/ecommerce/deutschland [10.03.2021]

  • Statista (2020): de.statista.com/infografik/22198/entwicklung-des-e-commerce-umsatzes-in-deutschland [03.11.2020]