“E-Commerce Market Germany 2015” (using business data from 2014) is the seventh issue of the market study examining the 1,000 highest revenue B2C online shops for physical goods and was published in October 2015. The EHI Retail Institute, together with Statista, have analysed online shops based on various attributes, such as product segments offered and social media activities, as well as on shipping and payment methods. Since the trend towards Omnichannel has gained in importance, shop-systems were examined more closely for the first time last year, besides the online shops themselves. At 14.6%, Magento is the most frequently used shop-system. During the actual analysis, however, only ca. 50% of the shop-systems could be recognised.
The most important single finding of the study is that the market, after a sales stagnation in 2013, has grown by about nine percent over the following year. Since the first publication of the study on the top 1,000 online shops in 2008, sales have actually almost doubled, from 17.5% to 32.7%. This development is based on altered usage habits amongst consumers. Above all, the introduction of smartphones and tablets has made online shopping more convenient, and thus more attractive, to customers
In 2014, Germany’s top 1,000 online shops have together generated sales to the tune of 32.7bn Euros. 38.1% of this sum was registered by the ten strongest-selling companies alone. This dominance makes clear that the sales-curve amongst German online shops can best be described as a ‘long tail model’. The rise in market concentration has become even clearer, when considering that the 100 strongest-selling companies have now gained a 66.1% share in sales.
Little has changed among the rankings of top online shops, but between positions 50 and 100 some rapidly growing companies have now emerged. Additionally, 200 new shops between positions 500 and 1,000 were considered, which speaks for the diversity of German e-commerce in the sectors of foodstuffs, floristry, pharmaceutics and also opticians.
Online shops with a broad offering of goods, designated as ‘generalists’ in the study, have, at 40.5%, the largest share in total sales amongst the retailers reviewed. With 17.9%, fashion shops lie in second place and electro online shops occupy third place with 12%. High market concentration reveals itself here also, since all the other categories enjoy only very small shares in terms of total sales. Amazon.de, the ultimate generalist, remains the strongest-selling online shop in Germany, registering sales of 6.6bn Euros in the B2C sphere during 2014. The German online shops Otto.de (1.99bn Euros) and zalando.de (0.87bn Euros) are the only ones which can remotely approach top dog Amazon in terms of sales.
Additionally, trends such as mobile availability and social media have firmly established themselves in e-commerce. Almost half of the 1,000 shops are multichannel retailers and only about a third are purely online shops (incl. mobile shop). Some 63.4% of providers use mobile websites, which have thus overtaken stationary shops as the strongest secondary sales channel. The most widespread social network among shops for customer communications, at 90.5%, is Facebook.
Even ‘Seals of Approval’ and ‘Shop Ratings’ have witnessed a genuine boom. In 2014, these possibilities were not even present at 50% of shops, whereas in 2015 about two thirds now use them. Likewise, over two thirds of the combined sales of online shops is distributed among those carrying the approval “EHI Tested Online Shop”. Six of the ten strongest-selling online shops display an official EHI seal. This uneven distribution shows that customers trust shops with a seal of approval more and that they have positive effects for these retailers.
In summary, it can be said that the 2014 trend of “more to come” will also define the foreseeable future. More sales were registered, there were more touchpoints, more payment and shipping methods, and also more products on the market. Although there is little dynamic activity at top of the rankings, some 200 new shops have been added to the lower placings. These include, amongst others, food shops, online opticians and pharmacies, as well as flower enterprises. Furthermore, Multi, Cross and Omnichannel retail will also define the market in the future. In the end, it will be the customers above all who decide the development of online shopping, since they will buy in the way most convenient to them.
Despite market growth, however, the correct strategy is required to become established at all as a company in the market and then to prove themselves amongst the top players. It all comes down to always using the large volume of available market data to individual advantage and constantly being one step ahead of the competition. Market transparency is an important catchphrase in this context. The gathering of data alone is insufficient, since the objective must also be to evaluate this data correctly and thus create transparency. This is where data-basis softwares such a blackbee come into play. The available data is automatically gathered, individually evaluated according to customer requirements and thus forms the basis for indispensable web-based product and market analyses. This is how many companies already apply the information gathered by blackbee. Our data is successfully used for price observations, price optimisations, product line analyses, channel monitoring and/or product benchmarking. The relevance of such offerings will increase sharply in the future, since all and sundry will be coveting a piece of the large e-commerce cake.