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Germany's Digital Buyers Turning to Mobile Devices

Over 60% of web users buy several times monthly

October 28, 2016 | Retail & Ecommerce

Internet users in Germany are now completely at home with ecommerce, and increasingly familiar with buying via mobile devices, according to August 2016 data from Bitkom. Its report, "Aus E-commerce wird M-Commerce," is based on a survey of 1,158 internet users ages 14 and older.

Devices Used by Digital Buyers in Germany to Make Digital Purchases, 2014 & 2016 (% of respondents)

The vast majority (98%) of those polled had bought something online in the previous 12 months—corresponding to 80% of the 14-plus population in Germany, and 56 million people overall.

Most of Germany’s internet users are now frequent digital buyers, too. Almost half (47%) of respondents said they made several purchases monthly, and a further 14% said they carried out a number of transactions in a typical week.

The share of web users using mobile devices for digital purchases had effectively doubled in the past two years, Bitkom found. For example, 27% used a tablet to shop online in 2016, compared with 14% in 2014, and 39% used a smartphone—nearly twice the 20% who did so two years ago.

Fashion (clothes, shoes and accessories) was the leading digital purchase category in the year to August, mentioned by 82% of those surveyed. Three-quarters (76%) had bought books online, and 56% had bought medicines. Grocery is also an expanding ecommerce category; 28% of respondents had ordered food or drink on the internet. Additionally, most consumers who hadn’t already shopped for groceries online said they could imagine doing so in the future.

Bitkom’s figures tally closely with eMarketer’s estimates of the digital buyer population in Germany. eMarketer predicts that 81.1% of web users ages 14 and older will have made at least one purchase online in 2016—only the UK and Denmark will have a larger share of the population buying digitally this year.

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