Germany's Retail Ecommerce Is Growing - eMarketer

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Germany's Retail Ecommerce Is Growing

Consumers, especially men, bought more of most product categories digitally in 2016

February 28, 2017

Retail ecommerce sales expanded by low double digits in Germany last year, driven by increases in digital buying for most product types and helped by greater spending on several categories by men in particular.

Retail Ecommerce Sales in Germany, 2012-2017 (billions of € and % change)

According to a February 2017 report by Bundesverband E-Commerce und Versandhandel (bevh), overall B2C ecommerce sales grew approximately 12% in 2016 to €66.9 billion ($74.00 billion). As in years past, retail ecommerce sales contributed the most to that tally, up 12.5% to €52.7 billion ($58.34 billion); the value of digital services, travel and event tickets and downloads increased 9.2% to €14.2 billion ($15.71 billion).

Nearly all of the product categories tracked by bevh contributed to Germany’s expanding retail ecommerce sales. Clothing remained the best-selling product type, with €11.16 billion ($12.35 billion) in sales in 2016, an increase of 11.5% from a year earlier. But several smaller categories by value grew considerably faster than apparel did—among them food (up 26.7%), home textiles (up 23.4%) and household items and appliances (up 23.4%). The only categories to see sales drop compared with 2015 were the catch-all “other” (down 5.3%), books and ebooks (off 1.9%) and medicine (lower by 0.6%).

Top 5 Product Categories for Retail Ecommerce Sales in Germany, 2015 & 2016 (billions of €)

Men contributed to ecommerce sales of several product categories at rapidly rising rates, according to bevh. Their spending on clothing rose by 22.5% in 2016, outpacing a 5.9% increase in outlays on that category by women. Sales growth among men also surpassed spending gains by women for products such as shoes, home decor items, and hobby and leisure products. Conversely, ecommerce sales of household items and appliances by women surged by 62.1%, compared with a 5.2% drop in sales among men.

“Growing sales are mainly driven by men. [They] have clearly caught up, even in product groups where you do not expect it immediately, like furniture, lamps and decoration where men generated an increase of 40.5%,” said Christoph Wenk-Fischer, bevh’s CEO.

eMarketer’s most recent forecast of retail ecommerce sales in Germany predicted 7.3% of the country’s total retail sales would be made digitally in 2016, up from 6.7% in 2015. That figure is projected to reach 7.9% this year and to top 9% by 2020.

Cliff Annicelli

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