Jacques van der Wilt takes a look at the ecommerce market in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, including the main shopping channels.
This post is by Jacques van der Wilt, the founder of global feed management and optimization company DataFeedWatch.
Collectively known as the DACH countries, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland are closely connected both geographically and culturally, and are very successful economically.
DACH countries have a population of just under 100 million (around 80% of which live in Germany) and over 80% of consumers use the internet. The prospects for ecommerce in these three German-speaking countries starts to look pretty good.
There is also a significant year-on-year growth in dollars spent online across these countries. Germany, for example, has seen an increase in spend of just under $10 billion every year between 2015 and 2017. A similar increase is forecast for 2018, bringing the total to nearly $100 billion.
When it comes to how residents from each of the DACH countries shop online, they display fairly similar ecommerce habits, with subtle differences between the countries. There is just a handful of primary websites that all three countries use more than others.
How do DACH consumers shop online?
The biggest differences between each country lies in the type of products they prefer to buy online. For example, the first notable difference in Switzerland from the other two countries is that digitec, a consumer electronics retailer, crops up as the top ecommerce website.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that consumer electronics are the type of product most commonly purchased online in Switzerland, although fashion does come a very close second.
On the other hand, Germany and Austria see more purchases of clothing and footwear. They also see a higher return rate, which isn’t only due to the type of product, but also the legal cooling-off period allowing consumers to return items within 14 days for any reason.
What are the ecommerce trends in DACH?
As a general rule of thumb, if you already know the German marketplace, you can probably use those learnings for your efforts in Austria and Switzerland too.
Aside from the fact that Austrian and Swiss consumers often buy from Germany, you typically see the two countries follow the trends in Germany. What works in Germany now, could work well in the other two countries at a later date.
Interestingly, the rise in older generations purchasing online has been fairly prominent across all three countries. While internet penetration for people over 55 is lower than the average, it is also clear that older age groups have more money to spend.
Younger generations use the internet more, and social media in particular, but it is the 45-54 age group that takes the top spot for ecommerce market share. In 2017, 26% of ecommerce users in Germany and 24% in Austria were in the 45-54 age range, making it the largest group of ecommerce users. Switzerland is a little behind in this trend, with the largest group of ecommerce users aged 25-34.
Which are the top shopping channels in DACH countries?
One of the biggest markets for eBay is Germany, serving as the platform’s second biggest market in Europe.
To understand more about seller requirements, check out eBay’s page on selling internationally in the U.S. Seller Center for more information.
As one of Germany’s price comparison sites, Idealo can help your products reach millions of buyers (15 million per month).
To get started with Idealo, you will need to visit their partner pages.
Still the largest online-only retailer across all three DACH countries, who primarily using the German site.
There are still strong suggestions that Switzerland will have its own Amazon site very soon.
Preis, as you may have guessed from the name, is a price comparison site allowing you to display your products to many people across German-speaking countries.
To get started, you can find the merchant prerequisites here.
Currently comparing over 52 million prices, guenstiger.de is a price comparison site with retailers’ portfolios ranging from electronics to car accessories.
Get started here.
To get started on shopping24.de, you will need to go through the shopping24 internet group – its partner page offering a multitude of services to help promote your store and products via six major portals, currently used by over 1,000 retailers.
Criteo is an advertising platform with retargeting capabilities that are perfect for retailers such as dynamic retargeting and sponsored products.
The platform claims advertisers see an average 13x ROAS (Return on Ad Spend). Find out more about getting started on the platform here.
One of the largest online price comparison sites is billiger.de which became popular back in 2003 when ecommerce entered the mainstream.
The platform hosts 59,000 shops across a broad range including electronics, fashion, sports and games. It also has a comparison model for other areas such as electricity and travel.
Awin, formerly zanox and Affiliate Window, is an affiliate marketing platform designed to help businesses promote their products and services online.
With 148 million sales generated in 2018 and availability in a vast range of countries, Awin is a great platform for large brands and advertisers to promote products to relevant audiences. To get started, you will need to fill out an inquiry form here.
DACH’s all for now
If you’re looking to expand out or start up your ecommerce business in DACH countries, it could be a worthwhile venture. With a high quality of living and a very quick rate of development, the DACH countries provide plenty of opportunities. Each of the three countries are continuing to see growth in the ecommerce market and a strong development of brands.
It’s worth bearing in mind that while these three German-speaking countries share a lot of similarities, there are plenty of differences too. It would be unwise to expect your strategy to look identical across all three DACH countries.
So, research the buyer profile of each country and keep your eye on sales opportunities and trends. Doing this will help take advantage of the great opportunities available when selling in DACH countries.
This post was by Jacques van der Wilt, a shopping feeds industry leader, start-up mentor, entrepreneur and the founder of DataFeedWatch. DataFeedWatch is a leading global feed management and optimization company that helps online merchants optimize their product listings on more than 1000 shopping channels in over 50 countries.