#LaunchAcademy: Do Germans really shop online?

Did you know that out of all countries in the developed world, Germany is ranked #9 in terms of online shopping, surpassing both, Canada (#12) and the USA (#14)? Quite interesting, considering North America has the highest rate of Internet penetration worldwide – 76.2%, with Europe being only third at 53%. That is what figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) show. And while I tend to advocate skepticism when it comes to statistics, the above numbers (as well as the ones that follow) are at the very least something to talk about. So if you’re planning on winning the hearts of German consumers, a move on the online scene of one kind or another might be helpful. In case you go down that road, here are some things to consider.

Earlier this year, comScore released the results of a survey, which asked European online shoppers from six different countries about their online shopping habits and experiences. Amongst the respondents, nearly half (45%) of German consumers who use a smartphone (45%) and those who also use a tablet (63%) said they use their devices to buy products online. Furthermore, 44% of German consumers have liked a brand on Facebook, with 87% (!) of them paying attention to social media updates of those brands.

The online game is no longer an option. So learn how to play or be this guy. // Tom Fishburne

Now, let’s say you have a product to sell online and you’ve caught a German consumer’s attention. 44% of the survey respondents would like to see the various delivery options and the total cost early in the process. Few things are more frustrating than having to go through several pages of filling-in personal information, only to find out that you’ll have to spend another 15$ for shipping on a 9$ t-shirt. 94% of German consumers said that tracking their packages is essential, which makes sense: because of the nature of online transactions, the seller gets the money before delivering the actual product or service. Thus seeing that your purchase is on its way is kind of a big deal, not to mention that, to some people it adds more excitement to the shopping process. Last but not least, returns are important: 71% of German online shoppers do their homework and review the return policies, and 72% would shop even more, had there been an easier return/exchange policy.

Speaking from personal experience, German online shoppers seem to enjoy fairly inexpensive shipping fees, combined with fast and reliable order processing and delivery times. Could it be that those factors, along with others, account for the fact that consumer segments with favorable attitudes towards online shopping are much higher in Germany, than they are in France or Italy? Either way, German online shopping has been continuously growing, although very far from the rapid increase in the period of 2003-2007, when online sales, excluding services and travel, doubled, going from €6billion to €13billion in under four years.Did you know that out of all countries in the developed world, Germany is ranked #9 in terms of online shopping, surpassing both, Canada (#12) and the USA (#14)? Quite interesting, considering North America has the highest rate of Internet penetration worldwide – 76.2%, with Europe being only third at 53%. That is what figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) show. And while I tend to advocate skepticism when it comes to statistics, the above numbers (as well as the ones that follow) are at the very least something to talk about. So if you’re planning on winning the hearts of German consumers, a move on the online scene of one kind or another might be helpful. In case you go down that road, here are some things to consider.

Earlier this year, comScore released the results of a survey, which asked European online shoppers from six different countries about their online shopping habits and experiences. Amongst the respondents, nearly half (45%) of German consumers who use a smartphone (45%) and those who also use a tablet (63%) said they use their devices to buy products online. Furthermore, 44% of German consumers have liked a brand on Facebook, with 87% (!) of them paying attention to social media updates of those brands.

The online game is no longer an option. So learn how to play or be the guy in the picture.

The online game is no longer an option. So learn how to play or be this guy. // Tom Fishburne

Now, let’s say you have a product to sell online and you’ve caught a German consumer’s attention. 44% of the survey respondents would like to see the various delivery options and the total cost early in the process. Few things are more frustrating than having to go through several pages of filling-in personal information, only to find out that you’ll have to spend another 15$ for shipping on a 9$ t-shirt. 94% of German consumers said that tracking their packages is essential, which makes sense: because of the nature of online transactions, the seller gets the money before delivering the actual product or service. Thus seeing that your purchase is on its way is kind of a big deal, not to mention that, to some people it adds more excitement to the shopping process. Last but not least, returns are important: 71% of German online shoppers do their homework and review the return policies, and 72% would shop even more, had there been an easier return/exchange policy.

Speaking from personal experience, German online shoppers seem to enjoy fairly inexpensive shipping fees, combined with fast and reliable order processing and delivery times. Could it be that those factors, along with others, account for the fact that consumer segments with favorable attitudes towards online shopping are much higher in Germany, than they are in France or Italy? Either way, German online shopping has been continuously growing, although very far from the rapid increase in the period of 2003-2007, when online sales, excluding services and travel, doubled, going from €6billion to €13billion in under four years.