GfK comprehensively analyzed the online turnover share of Germany's major product groups. The analysis includes a prognosis for online retail extending through the next decade. GfK predicts that the share of online turnover from products groups in Germany will double during this period.
"Our prognosis shows that the online boom does not mean the end of stationary retail," says GfK retail real estate expert and project lead Dr. Gerold Doplbauer. "In fact, there's a natural tendency toward saturation already apparent in online retail."
Key highlights of the analysis:
Current online share: In the past year, 8.5% of Germany's entire retail turnover was transacted over the Internet. This figure would be higher were it not for Germany’s particularly low online share of 1.2% for grocery retail (includes drugstore items). If only non-food turnover is taken into account, Germany's online retail in 2014 comprised 15.3% of all retail turnover.
Relative significance of turnover volume: The importance of taking into account both the retail share of a product group and the online share within the product group is apparent in the case of grocery retail: At 1.2%, the online share of this segment is very low, but even so it generated €2.6 bil. in online turnover in 2014. The pressure on stationary retail is still low. But online retail is already very important to sectors such as logistics service providers, who are directly impacted by online trade.
Socio-demographics: Among other things, family type has an influence on a household's affinity for online shopping: The greater the size of the household, the lower the share of online spending. And gender also plays a large role: For example, in single-person households, men spend twice as much online (17.8%) as women (8.8%).
Growth limits: Online retail will eventually reach a natural growth limit, the timing of which will vary based on the market maturity of the product group in question. Saturation tendencies are already discernible among the product lines first to go online. For example, the online share for books and media grew only marginally from 2013 to 2014. And this past year, the technology & media segment grew by just under eight percent compared to 20-30 percent annually in previous years. The reasons for this are innovations and adjustments by stationary retail, which is already successfully responding to intense competition with new concepts and omni-channel solutions.
Prognosis for online retail share up to 2025: Even if, as predicted, growth rates slow due to saturation tendencies, GfK still anticipates an almost doubling of the online share of total retail turnover (i.e., food and non-food) to around 15 percent by 2025. Taking into account only the non-food segment (i.e., excluding groceries and drugstore items), GfK expects an eventual online share of around 25 percent.
Future shift in product group weighting: While all branches will grow in absolute terms throughout the prognosis time frame (until 2025) and technology & media will eventually make up the lion's share, the distribution of product line share will shift to the benefit of online newcomers in the grocery & drugstore, furniture & furnishings and garden & home improvement segments. Grocery & drugstore items will achieve the greatest share increases. This product line should double its share of total online turnover from the current 8% to 16%.
"Those active in retail want to know how much consumers will spend online and how much they'll spend in brick-and-mortar stores," says Doplbauer. "Retailers, developers and investors face costly decisions with long-term repercussions. Our analysis of the share of Germany's online turnover by product group along with our prognosis for the next ten years give these groups an objective basis for making more informed long-term decisions."
A free PDF of GfK's white paper on eCommerce can be obtained at
Print-quality illustrations can be found here.
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