Germans are very fond and a bit crazy about shopping. In fact, you could say it’s a national pastime, which is good because it makes it easy to find everything you need. As Germany is a rich and prosperous country, the statistic shows data on e-commerce sales in Germany from 1999 to 2020. In 2020, the German e-commerce sector generated sales of around EUR 72.8 billion. Germany is the fifth largest e-commerce market with sales of $96 billion in 2020, ahead of South Korea and behind the UK.
Then there are the German “discounters” such as Aldi and Lidl, which have almost achieved cult status and specialize in groceries and a weekly change from textiles to toys to office supplies at unbeatable prices.
Away from the department stores and discounters, however, specialization is the order of the day. Many small shops offer a wide variety of items within a limited product range, such as fashion, china, glassware, leather goods, fine metal goods, shoes, handicrafts, toys, electrical goods, musical instruments, optical instruments, books, flowers, spices, oriental carpets, sports equipment, tobacco goods, Antiques, candles, maps to name a few. However, these niche shops are often forced to charge higher prices to stay competitive.
Savings can also sometimes be achieved by ordering online, and the German Retail Association reports that 93.9 percent of German households now have computers. When booking flight tickets or hotel rooms, there are no travel agency fees and many online retailers have saved the cost of a stationary shop. The large mail order companies such as Quelle and Neckermann have put their entire catalogs online around the clock.
Another benefit of online shopping is variety. Expatriates can use the internet to search for items from home that are not normally available in German stores. While there are some British and American shops in the larger German cities, many expats don’t have easy access to them. To the delight of many customers, enterprising shopkeepers are now offering their products online on convenient English-language websites. Great variety, easy and secure payment, and efficient shipping make online shopping a great alternative.