There were ~ 130,000 online shops in Germany at the end of 2021. This includes mini-shops that only complement a (smaller) stationary store or are operated by part-time workers for a production with a hobby character, medium-sized players and market giants such as Amazon, Otto and Zalando. If you want to move up to the top 1,000, you should achieve a turnover of at least six million euros per year on the German market. Only online shops in Germany with a turnover of over 10 million euros are currently seeing real growth. The 100 largest online shops in Germany have a combined turnover of over 30 billion euros: that’s ¾ of all sales in German eCommerce. Incidentally, over half of all online shops in Germany use a standardized shop system.

What sales did the largest online shops in Germany achieve in 2020?

The sales of the largest online shops in Germany are now available for 2020. They come from the Statista portal and the Cologne-based EHI Retail Institute. The net sales and the GMV (Gross Merchandise Volume) are determined in each case. The research results in the following ranking for the 10 largest online shops in Germany in 2020 (each with sales volume only for Germany in million euros):

  • # 1 13,875.5
  • # 2 4,500
  • # 3 1,943.5
  • # 4 1.842
  • # 5 1,104.1
  • # 6 1,015.9
  • # 7 877.8
  • # 8 861
  • # 9 818.2
  • # 10 (H&M shop): 712.7

EHI and Statista have taken the figures from the companies‘ annual reports, press releases and the company websites, studied secondary sources and made extrapolations using a regression analysis. The scientific basis suggests that the information is very precise. Important to know: It’s about online shops in Germany, not about marketplaces like eBay, and it’s also about sales generated purely in Germany. This is sometimes difficult to determine (even for the companies themselves). First of all, customers from other countries (at least from the DACH region) can access the German website of a shop like Amazon if they see something there that is not available in their country. In addition, the retailers also offer additional services, for example Amazon services such as free delivery and videos with a Prime membership. However, the numbers should relate to sold products (including digital ones).

What does net sales mean?

Net sales are sales excluding VAT, but also sales adjusted for returns. That means: only what the customer actually keeps is added. It is also important to know that the investigation focused on online shops in Germany with B2C business.

What is the GMV?

The Gross Merchandise Volume is the trading volume that includes all sales on the marketplace specified in the URL. The investigation explicitly referred to online shops in Germany, but not to the entire retail company. Amazon sells worldwide, H&M or Lidl also sell stationary. These sales volumes are expressly not taken into account in the study of online shops in Germany.

What do the studies on online shops in Germany show?

The most important finding in 2021 is: Small online shops in Germany are having an increasingly difficult time and could possibly disappear from the scene. Market power is increasingly concentrated in the hands of the largest online shops in Germany.

What does this mean for the consumer?

A lot of competition is always good for consumers because it keeps prices low and at the same time forces suppliers to deliver high quality. On the other hand, eCommerce has its own rules of the game. So it is simply very convenient for all of us when we buy from a generalist like Amazon, who sells practically everything and for whom the delivery also works wonderfully. This convenience on our part naturally promotes the market power of such giants, but that’s not all: The big players also do a lot right that small online shops in Germany are often not so good at.

What could and must small online shops in Germany do better?

You should offer many payment methods, fast deliveries and extremely well-organized websites with internal search engines. They also have to work permanently on their SEO (search engine optimization) so that we as consumers can even find them in the huge range.

Von writer