BERLIN — Despite optimistic forecasts, e-commerce in Germany, Austria and Switzerland is growing at a slower rate than expected.
According to a study conducted by the Cologne-based EHI Retail Institute and statistics Web portal Statistica, the rate of e-commerce growth in Germany, Austria and Switzerland — the so-called D-A-CH region — slowed in 2013.
Sales last year for the 100 biggest German online retailers surveyed amounted to 19.60 billion euros, or $26.04 billion at current exchange, a rise of 7.7 percent, compared to a gain of 12.3 percent in 2012.
Omitting market leader Amazon, which makes up the bulk of the volume with 5.8 billion euros, or $7.70 billion, the growth rate amounts to 2.8 percent for the 99 remaining companies.
In the general ranking, Amazon is followed by mixed-goods retailer Otto (1.9 billion euros, or $2.52 billion), a division of the Otto Group, and Zalando, which revealed it expects to break even this year, generating sales of 702 million euros, or $932.5 million, in its home market.
Zalando leads the subcategory “clothes, textiles and shoes” in Germany, followed by Bonprix, another branch of the Otto Group (410.5 million euros, or $545.3 million), the German H&M online shop (303.7 million euros, or $403.4 million), Esprit (173.2 million euros, or $230.1 million) and Heine (128.9 million euros, or $171.2 million).
Complementary studies for Austria’s and Switzerland’s top 100 online retailers indicate similar trends. Swiss e-commerce grew by 3 percent, generating a turnover of 3.4 billion euros, or $4.52 billion, with Digitec (414.4 million euros, or $550.5 million), Nespresso (260.3 million euros, or $345.8 million) and the Swiss Zalando branch (203.1 million euros, or $269.8 million) dominating the market. Austria’s top e-tailers reached 1.9 billion euros, or $2.52 billion, with Austrian Amazon (342.6 million euros, or $455.1 million), Universal (107.5 million euros, or $142.8 million) and Zalando (72.5 million euros, or $96.3 million) leading the list.
The surveys looked at net income after returns, interests and taxes for the commerce of products, omitting digital products. However, a comparison of the growth rates is difficult as companies provided more detailed information on their commerce strategies and figures for 2013 than they did for 2012, according to the EHI Retail Institute.
The news of the slowdown in e-commerce growth follows a decline of the GFK think tank’s Consumer Climate Indicator earlier this month, suggesting German consumers are concerned about international conflicts affecting the German economy, and the European Union’s release of current figures indicating the contraction of German GDP growth.