Here is a quick, high level look at what is happening online in Germany.
1. Internet Penetration
Almost 90% of the population in Germany are online, which amounts to over 72 million people. It is also worth mentioning that 40% of the population are also registered on Facebook.
2. Top Search Engines
Google is the leading search engine in Germany, controlling about 95% of the search market. Google.de is the most visited website in Germany and Google.com is the third most visited. Alphabet (Google’s parent company) property YouTube.com happens to be the second most visited site in Germany. So collectively, Alphabet companies hold the top three positions.
3. Mobile Usage
Mobile usage in Germany is very mature at 88%. It has been in the 80% range since 2012.
In Germany, smartphone users on average use many of the devices’ capabilities. Statista.com has reported that 100% of users use their smartphone for phone calls and 90% for taking pictures and videos. But it is interesting to see almost 50% of the users use their device for banking. Actually, a bit more than users who use their phones for shopping. Here is a link for the report: https://www.statista.com/statistics/436515/smartphone-features-usage-germany/.
Tablet usage is only about 10%. Overwhelmingly WiFi is how German mobile users access the internet.
Ecommerce grew by almost 11% in 2017 to approximately $72 billion. One eighth of all retail sales are now online.
It is interesting that 60% of online sales are from small communities in Germany with populations under 50k people. This appears to allow for an opportunity for growth in the larger population centers.
Amazon is very popular in Germany. While many feel their prices can be high, they appreciate that Amazon is easier to use to find the right products and complete purchases than some of the regional online stores who offer the same products at a lower cost.
5. Online Payments
In Germany, the preferred method of payment for online purchases has been to be invoiced so the buyer can examine the products once delivered before payment. Today, this is still the case for almost 40% of online purchases in Germany but it is on the decline. PayPal is closing the gap and is widely used in Germany with 31% of online purchases using this service. Trust in the payment method is very important to German buyers and PayPal has successfully satisfied this need. Credit cards and debit cards account for only 11% of online transactions. If the preferred method of payment is not offered 24% of German buyers will exit the checkout process.
From what I have mentioned above, Google, PayPal, Amazon and Facebook are very popular in Germany. Smartphones are the by far the preferred mobile device over tablets and ecommerce is a significant channel for business, but has a lot of room to grow.