Review: The eCommerce market 2017

How has the eCommerce market evolved since last year? Did sales of the online providers increase? And which web shops are currently leading the markets in Germany, Austria and Switzerland?

These questions are answered by the EHI Retail Institute. In collaboration with Statista, they carried out the study “eCommerce Market Germany 2017″ for the ninth year now. The experts analysed here the 1,000 largest B2C online shops and presented these based on their annual sales in 2016. For the first time, the survey also includes the eCommerce markets in Austria and Switzerland.

It is clear that, year on year, online sales continue to skyrocket. In 2016, the Top 100 eCommerce retailers in Germany achieved a turnover of 27.4 billion euros. This is three billion euros more than the previous year.

But which are the leading online shops and which sectors have the most potential? We offer you a brief update on the German eCommerce market in 2017 and also for our neighboring countries of Austria and Switzerland.

Which online shops are the most successful across Germany?

As in previous years, the generalist Amazon, with a turnover of 8.1 billion euros in 2016, stands at the pinnacle of German online shops. This equates to a full 5.4 billion euros lead over the second-placed shop Otto (2.7 billion euros). Zalando then follows in third place (1.1 billion euros).

The huge lead of Amazon is due not least to its high level of familiarity and its extensive product range. Even though Amazon relies less on customer satisfaction and loyalty measures, it still remains the leader in German eCommerce sales.
Together, the top three online shops in Germany generated sales of around 12 billion euros. This corresponds to about 44 percent of the total turnover of the Top 100.

“It is no coincidence that the top three online shops also act as a platform or marketplace, since their large customer base gives them a competitive edge. The examples of Otto and MediaMarktSaturn, however, show that a multi-shop strategy can also be successful”, said Christoph Langenberg, eCommerce expert at EHI.

There is tough competition among the Top 10, with a total of five electronic providers (, Media Markt, Cyberport, Conrad and Alternate) fighting for the rankings behind the Top 3 providers.

Which are the most in-demand sectors in German eCommerce?

If we take a look at the 100 most successful online marketplaces in Germany, we can clearly see that generalists, with 25 online shops – including,,, or – together generate by far the largest sector turnover. This amounts to almost 14 billion euros for 2016 and represents three times more revenue than the second-placed consumer electronics sector, with annual sales of around 4.6 billion euros. The clothing sector, with a total of 18 shops, occupies third place and achieved ca. 3.9 billion euros last year.

Specialist vs generalist

The purchase of foodstuffs on the Web is also becoming increasingly attractive. In our blog article “Online foodstuffs – The new driving force in eCommerce?”, we show you the potential of the eFood industry and which challenges you have to face as a retailer. The leader in this sector is Rewe, with the foodstuffs retailer currently occupying 58th place in the rankings with sales of 108 million euros. Furthermore, has now sprung from 63rd to 27th place. The sector is looking forward excitedly to the development of the Amazon Fresh online food services launched in May 2017.

In recent years, shopping at online pharmacies has also increased even further. In total, eight providers are among the top 100 and together generate around 1 billion euros in annual sales. The market leader is in 15th place with a turnover of 317.1 million euros

Austria: Which are the best-selling online shops?

In our neighboring country, Austria, it looks quite similar to Germany, with the online giant Amazon again in first place of the Top 10 with a turnover of 556 million euros. On Austrian terrain, snapped up second place with an annual turnover of 174.3 million euros. In third place follows The online shop for fashion, furniture and technology generated sales of 111.1 million euros last year.

Compared to 2015, the full ranking is now more influenced by consumer electronics. Besides, for the first time there are also, and among the top ten best-selling shops.

Counted together, the ten online shops generated a full 56.7 percent of total sales in 2016 and thus more sales than the shops occupying the following ninety places.

Switzerland: Which online shops are edging ahead?

Compared to Austria and Germany, Amazon is less successful in Switzerland. The top dog takes third place in the ranking of the ten most successful online shops. First place is defended by, an online shop for consumer electronics, with annual sales of 602 million Swiss francs in 2016. This puts ahead of Amazon. In second place is Zalando, which achieved sales of 534 million Swiss francs last year.
The three leading online shops together generated a total of 1.6 billion Swiss francs in 2016. This corresponds to about 55 percent of the total turnover of the Swiss Top 10.

Summary: Growth of the eCommerce markets in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

In Germany, Austria and Switzerland, online retail continues to grow. Now as ever, Amazon still occupies a dominant position in the eCommerce market. Some sectors, such as consumer electronics and apparel, are highly competitive, making a successful market presence extremely difficult for online retailers. But do not let yourself be unnerved by this, as an online provider, and always keep an overview of your market. After all, only through a knowledge of your competitors can you continue to successfully compete in highly competitive online retail. With our highly automated, self-learning product and market analysis software blackbee you receive up-to-date competitor information and always maintain an overview in eCommerce.

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