German e-commerce shows signs of growth

In the second quarter of this year, online sales in Germany rose by 0.2 percent compared to the same period last year. This is the first increase in the market in two years. However, looking at the first half of 2024, sales are still 1.2 percent lower than last year.

This information is provided by the Bundesverband E-Commerce und Versandhandel Deutschland, abbreviated as Bevh. In 2023, the association announced that e-commerce in Germany fell by 11.8 percent compared to the previous year. Total online revenue amounted to 79.7 billion euros. This was the first double-digit decline in the German market.

EUR 38.1 billion in H1

But now the downward trend seems to be coming to an end. From April to the end of June, total online sales in Germany were worth 19.2 billion euros. And in the first half of 2024, online revenues reached 38.1 billion euros. This is 1.2 percent less than in the first half of 2023.

Sales of digital services increased by 4.2% in the second quarter of this year

The biggest growth driver appears to be digital services. This includes travel bookings and ticket purchases. This category grew by 4.2 percent to €3.72 billion in the second quarter. In the first half of the year, it grew by 8.4 percent to €6.45 billion.

Growth across all product ranges

According to the report, sales rose in 12 of the 19 product ranges surveyed by consumers. Food orders showed the strongest growth, with a 6.2 percent increase (to €1.004 billion) in the second quarter. Furnishings (furniture, home textiles and household appliances) rose by 1.6 percent during the period.

“Normalization in the market”

“We are seeing the beginnings of normalization in the market. Earnings have not only overcompensated for the inflation of recent years – around 20 percent since 2019 – but are now recording a significantly lower inflation rate,” says Martin Groß-Albenhausen, Deputy CEO of Bevh.

“Further uncertainties await”

“But it is too early to say that the consumer crisis is over, because further uncertainties are already waiting. Whether in Germany, Europe as a whole or in the US: everywhere we see political instability and geopolitical conflicts that could slow down the return to growth. In addition, there are now reports of numerous bankruptcies, which are prompting people to save.”

The sharp decline in sales in recent years has not yet been made up for. This means that the current growth will have to continue for German online companies to really benefit from it. The association surveyed B2C online retailers and almost half of them said that German and European regulations were holding e-commerce companies back. The growth of Asian markets such as Temu could also threaten the competitiveness of local companies.

Driven by markets

The report also shows that the German e-commerce market is currently recovering thanks to online marketplaces. These companies grew by 2.3 percent in the second quarter and achieved a market share of 55 percent in the entire first half of 2024.