August 20, 2013, 9:46 AM

Online retail sales in Europe will reach $255 billion by 2017

E-commerce sales in Germany will increase 21% by then, a report finds.

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Annual European web retail sales will swell from 112 billion euros (US $149.5 billion) in 2012 to 191 billion euros (US $254.9 billion) by 2017, a 70.5% increase, according to a new report from German trade agency Germany Trade & Invest.

The report, “The E-Commerce Market in Germany,” found that last year 41 million Germans—or just over 50% of the country’s population—bought online.

B2C online sales in Germany totaled 27.6 billion euros (US $36.8 billion) last year and will grow 21.4% to reach 33.5 billion euros (US $44.7 billion) by 2017. Several German e-retailers are expanding beyond their home country to sell online internationally. Nearly 90% of German e-retailers polled in a recent survey by the German E-Commerce and Distance Selling Trade Association sell to shoppers internationally, the report notes. And 43% of those that do not sell outside Germany are working on expanding internationally.

Other findings from the report include:

  • 89% of Germans between the ages of 25 and 44 use the Internet;
  • 61% of German online shoppers purchase clothes and shoes via the web;
  • 56% of German online shoppers purchase healthcare and cosmetics via the web;
  • 5% of Germans  plan to increase their in-store spending;
  • 43% of Germans plan to increase their online spending;
  • One in three in-store retailer purchases in Germany is first researched online;
  • 40% of Germans who shop online take the return policy into consideration before buying;
  • 80% of those who buy online in Germany rank whether the retailer accepts their preferred payment methods as very or absolutely important.

The research also notes that Germans are increasingly using mobile devices to browse the web.  22% of all German web users browse on their smartphones—up from about 7.3% in 2010. And Germans will purchase 28 million smartphones this year, the report says.

Mobile commerce accounts for between 2% and 10% of total e-commerce sales in Germany, the report says, and 25% of German smartphone owners say they have used their mobile devices to complete a transaction.

A strong network of logistics companies in Germany will help e-commerce continue to grow, the report also says. Germany boasts 3,500 courier companies and 60,000 logistics service providers, including Deutsche Post World Net, DHL, Shenker and Dachser.


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