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Channel & Distribution

Amazon dominates German online trade

46% of online sales in Germany in 2017 were made through Amazon, including Marketplace. The online market grew faster than expected (10.5%) overall – and there seems to be no end in sight.

16 May. 2018 David Schahinian
Source: Handelsverband Deutschland
Source: Handelsverband Deutschland

According to the current Online-Monitor 2018 of the German Retail Association (HDE), "no saturation limit is in sight." Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) such as food, home living and furnishing as well as home improvement and gardening supplies, showed a particularly high rate of growth in 2017. Growth impetus is coming from older online shoppers and the Amazon Marketplace, which accounts for 25% of online sales and by far the largest sales growth (2.1 billion euros). The mobile sector also continues to gain in importance: the smartphone is now the most important way to reach customers.

The report also shows that the level of online affinity varies from one German federal state to another. For example, online spending in the south of Germany is above average, while in the east it is largely below average. The proportion of online shoppers tends to be slightly higher in big cities than in smaller cities.

"Good is no longer good enough," headlined Deutsche Welle with regard to smaller online shops faced with the dominance of Amazon, Otto, Zalando & co. Structured websites, appealing product images and common payment methods alone no longer suffice to make you stand out, says Gero Becker from the Institute for Trade Research (IFH) Cologne. Smaller retailers could have a better chance of standing out by occupying niche markets and taking a more personal sales approach.

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