With $73.6 billion in sales in 2020, Germany is the largest e-commerce market in Europe. Germany also ranks first in terms of the number of online shoppers and is among the international leaders in terms of annual spending per shopper. In addition to a strong retail sector, German e-commerce grew a full 6.6 times as fast as offline retail in 2020. Impressive figures aside, it is also worth noting that online marketplaces account for a large piece of the e-commerce cake; therefore, having a good overview of the top 10 online marketplaces in Germany for 2021, is your entry ticket to a cake party and you surely don’t want to miss the opportunity.

What is an online marketplace?

Typically, online marketplaces are e-commerce websites that are mainly characterized by 2 factors: 

  • Online shoppers can make the purchase on the website or in the app
  • There is a high number of buyers and sellers

However, the abovementioned characteristics exclude price comparison sites on which no purchase can be completed. Considering these characteristics and limitations, we are going to, for the purpose of this article, focus only on the marketplaces that sell physical goods.

Online marketplaces have been gaining popularity for some time. During the pandemic, this trend has further accelerated. As an example, data shows that online marketplaces accounted for 62% of all online sales in 2020. 

That comes as no surprise, as online shoppers love to shop in these “one-stop” online malls from the comfort of their homes. In 2020, the revenue of the top 100 online marketplaces amounted to a total of $2.67 trillion worldwide. Sales in Europe accounted for around $400 billion.

In addition, online marketplaces are often an attractive opportunity for retailers to expand into new e-commerce markets.

Overview of the German online marketplace landscape

In Germany, too, the popularity of online marketplaces is also gaining serious traction. steadily. This applies to both customers and retailers. Growing supply and demand naturally result in more sales overall.

  • In the DACH region (GER, AUT, SUI) alone, the number of online marketplaces more than doubled between 2015 and 2020 (+114%)
  • 50% of e-commerce purchases in Germany are made via online marketplaces
  • 35% of the top 500 online stores in Germany also offer their products on Amazon
  • 40% of the top 50 online stores sell via eBay, among other channels
  • German customers demand longer and more detailed product descriptions than other customers. That’s why descriptions of items on Amazon.de, for example, should differ from those on Amazon.co.uk not only in terms of language but also in terms of content.

Compared to other markets, such as the online marketplace landscape in the Netherlands, Germany is primarily characterized by a strong dominance of Amazon. Nevertheless, some strong marketplaces have emerged in recent years that have become the number one national and international shopping destination in certain niches. One of these is the German fashion marketplace Zalando.

Let’s take a look at the most popular online marketplaces in Germany in terms of visits. The data comes from Similarweb and refers to July 2021.

What are the most popular online marketplaces in Germany?

#1 Top online marketplace in Germany: Amazon.de

 amazon-marketplace-logo

  • Visits per month in Germany: 488 million
  • Product category: Generic
  • Target region: Global

Like in most Western countries, Amazon is the absolute top dog in e-commerce in Germany. To be clear; 488 million visits refer only to Amazon.de. Visits to Amazon.com are therefore not included here.

Chief advantage of Amazon:

Amazon is by far the most well-known marketplace in Europe. Selling through this online marketplace guarantees an attractive number of visitors as well as their trust.

#2 Top online marketplace in Germany: eBay & eBay Kleinanzeigen

ebay-marketplace-logo

  • Visits per month in Germany: 193 million
  • Product category: Generic
  • Target region: Global

In addition to the 193 million visits per month on ebay.de, there are another 160 million visits for ebay-kleinanzeigen.de in Germany. However, the latter is mainly used by private sellers.

Chief advantage of eBay:

As is the case with Amazon, German consumers place a lot of trust in eBay. The online marketplace is one of the pioneers in this field and is known to almost every online shopper. In addition, eBay also has a high monthly number of visitors.

#3 Top online marketplace in Germany: Otto Market

otto-market

  • Visits per month in Germany: 53.5 million
  • Product category: generic
  • Target region: Europe

Otto is a force to be reckoned with in German online retailing and Europe. The Hamburg-based e-commerce company is the largest B2C online retailer for fashion and lifestyle in Europe and is also among the global leaders in other areas of online shopping.

The marketplace Otto market, however, has some relatively strict criteria to be approved as a seller, which makes it hard for many non-German sellers to be accepted. These include:

  • You need the German legal form of a company and a German VAT ID (excluded small entrepreneurs according to § 19 UStG)
  • You act as a seller to end customers
  • You offer a German-speaking customer service
  • You ship from a German warehouse
  • You sell products with a standard VAT rate of 19%. 

Chief advantage of Otto Market:

Otto is a well-known business name in Germany and is considered the largest domestic alternative to Amazon and eBay. As a result, older German online shoppers, in particular, place their trust in the Otto Group. In addition, it is possible for sellers on the Otto marketplace to sell under their own brand name. Moreover, the clear focus on the German-speaking market can be seen as an advantage if this corresponds to your target market.

#4 Top online marketplace in Germany: Zalando

zalando-marketplace-logo

  • Visits per month in Germany: 30 million
  • Product category: Fashion
  • Target region: Europe

Zalando is another German online marketplace that has managed to join the international e-commerce elite. Zalando has become the leading online fashion company in Europe. In fact, the turnover of the Berlin-based company has grown by at least 20% annually over the past 10 years. This trend doesn’t seem to stop in the near future.

As a Zalando seller, you must have your own website and offer free shipping and returns.

Chief advantage of Zalando:

In contrast to Otto, shoppers on Zalando tend to be younger, but also more willing to buy. In addition, Zalando serves the fashion niche better than any other European competitor at the moment.

#5 Top online marketplace in Germany: Etsy

etsy-marketplace-logo

  • Visits per month in Germany: 13 million
  • Product category: Craft, Gifts & Arts
  • Target region: Global

Etsy is the rising star when it comes to self-made products. Especially in the English-speaking world, this niche marketplace is increasingly making a name for itself and leads the field of top online marketplaces in the UK behind Amazon and eBay. Comparably, Etsy is also gaining popularity among German shoppers.

Chief advantage of Etsy:

One of the biggest advantages of Etsy is its collaborative community. In addition, this all-American online marketplace has a comparatively transparent price structure.

#6 Top online marketplace in Germany: About You

about-you-logo-510x390

  • Visits per month in Germany: 8.1 million
  • Product category: Fashion
  • Target region: Europe

About You was founded in 2014 as a subsidiary of the Otto Group and has since been on a successful path in e-commerce. With its focus on fashion and its youthful, “cool” appearance, About You is in direct competition with Zalando. About You focuses even more strongly on young target groups. In general, the presentation on About You is more emotional than on other online marketplaces.

Chief advantage of About You:

About You is considered a young, trendy online platform and has a sophisticated logistics concept. The German company is likely to be an attractive alternative, especially for online retailers with a target group below 30 years of age.

#7 Top online marketplace in Germany: Shopapotheke.com

shopapotheke-logo

  • Visits per month in Germany: 7.16 million
  • Product category: Health and pharmaceuticals
  • Target region: Europe

Shopapotheke Europe started in 2001 as the online store of a stationary pharmacy in Cologne. Since 2004, non-prescription drugs can be sold online. In the meantime, the online store has its headquarters in Venlo, in the Netherlands. In addition to medications, the product range also includes beauty products and dietary supplements.

Chief advantage of Shopapotheke:

The most obvious advantage of this marketplace is the focus and trust of customers in the pharmaceutical industry. Especially in this sector, online shoppers do not take any risks when buying medicines and other non-prescription health-related remedies.

#8 Top online marketplace in Germany: Alternate.de

alternate-logo-600x90

  • Visits per month in Germany: 4.5 million
  • Product category: Gaming, Electronics
  • Target region: Global

Similar to the previously mentioned online marketplace, Alternate.de specializes in a comparatively narrow niche. The online marketplace is well-known in this community, not least due to its sponsorship of e-gaming. In addition, electrical appliances are also offered.

Chief advantage of Alternate.de:

Here, too, one can clearly speak of advantages coming from the active community. This makes Alternate.de an interesting option for all online retailers in this niche. After all, the average person who visits this marketplace usually has a clear interest in buying.

#9 Top online marketplace in Germany: Hood.de

hood_logo

  • Visits per month in Germany: 2.6 million
  • Product category: Generic
  • Target region: Global

Behind Austria and Germany, most visitors come from China (even ahead of Switzerland). Additionally, the website traffic of this marketplace has increased rapidly in recent months and shows no signs of stopping.

Chief advantage of Hood.de:

The main advantage of Hood.de is its comparatively low cost and fee structure. It is also known as a transparent marketplace sales portal.

#10 Top online marketplace in Germany: Avocadostore.de

avocadostore-logo

  • Visits per month in Germany: 840 000
  • Product category: Sustainable products, organic products
  • Target region: Germany

Avocadoshop.de is the green answer to Amazon, eBay, and Co. They sell sustainable and preferably environmentally friendly products for men, women, and children. The clear focus is on clothing, accessories, and personal care, as well as home and living products.

Chief advantage of Avocadoshop.de:

The main advantage of Avocadoshop is clearly its sustainable orientation. This attracts environmentally conscious customers, most of whom are not as price-sensitive as shoppers on Amazon, for example.

Alternative or complement to online marketplaces in Germany

Online marketplaces are an excellent option to increase e-commerce sales, take the first steps in online commerce or expand into new markets. Nevertheless, running a standalone online store has some advantages overselling on Amazon and the like. These benefits include:

  • Greater control over all processes
  • Possibility of branding
  • Differentiation from the competition (so, price is no longer the only selling factor)
  • Direct contact with customers
  • Building relationships with customers (returning & loyal customers)
  • Possibility to build customer lists
  • Possibility of cross-selling and up-selling
  • More customer data insights
  • Flexible cost structure
  • Customizable packaging
  • Focus and emphasis on sustainable processes

How 3PLs like byrd can help

One of the greatest strengths of many marketplaces is having optimized logistics. Amazon in particular has set new standards, from which end customers benefit. At the same time, expectations of fast and cheap or free shipping are rising as a result. This applies to online marketplaces in Germany as well as to online companies and online stores of all sizes.

For most of these companies, it is not feasible to offer a comparable level of e-commerce fulfillment independently and at a cost-covering level. 

This is where so-called 3PLs (third-party logistics providers) or simply fulfillment companies come into play. They offer online retailers the opportunity to outsource logistics in order to compete with the “big players” on an equal footing.

Through automated fulfillment processes, from storage, picking, and packing to shipping, everything is done for you. Efficient returns logistics are also taken care of.

In addition, optimized processes ensure that orders are processed immediately and that no time is lost. Shipping millions of parcels give fulfillment companies a relatively large bargaining power over the most popular parcel delivery companies in Germany. Better prices can then be passed on to e-commerce companies.

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In addition, 3PL companies like byrd have many different warehouses where you can divide your goods among them. This reduces the shipping distance to your customers, which reduces both shipping time and the impact on the environment. byrd’s fulfillment network is especially relevant for cross-border logistics to minimize proximity to the end customer. Additionally, during seasonal peaks or other bottlenecks (such as during the covid-19 pandemic), you benefit from a resilient supply chain because there is no total shutdown of shipments when one warehouse has to be closed.

Last but not least, with most 3PLs it is also possible to offer individualized packaging and thus stand out from the competition. With customizable packaging, D2C brands can thus leverage one more efficient marketing channel and continue to work on brand building.

byrd makes all of this possible and has a close-knit, high-performance fulfillment network in Germany. In addition, through fulfillment locations in the leading European e-commerce markets, we offer the ability to quickly and easily enter other European countries and fulfill online orders efficiently and easily.