Brilliant future only for e-Commerce

Decreasing number of shoppers in brick-and-mortar. Photo: Pixabay under Creative Commons License.

According to an HDE-study and as in recent eight years, the German retail industry has increased its total turnover in 2018 – by a nominal 2.3 percent to 525 billion euros, which is far less than expected by HDE. However, HDE registered a bad mood within retailers in its economic survey for 2019. The general business situation is estimated to be worse than in 2018, retailers say.

The Internet business in 2018 stands in for 53.6 billion euros net, which is 9.7 percent more than in 2017. The Federal Association of e-commerce and mail order (bevh) had calculated for 2018 industry sales of 65.1 billion euros, but reported gross figures. For 2019, the HDE expects revenue for the German online industry to rise to 58.5 billion euros (plus 9.1 percent).

E-commerce is ultimately the reason why the entire industry is still growing. For brick-and-mortar retail HDE expects a nominal increase in sales of only 1.2 percent to 477 billion euros in 2019. Real growth would probably be in minus.

However, it is increasingly difficult to identify and allocate revenues in e-commerce. Because pure players, marketplaces, marketplace dealers and brick-and-mortar retailers with their own web shops are making the market increasingly complicated.

Customer frequency within city-centers is reported to be decreasing. But brick-and-mortar retailers are wrong when only blaming online business for their increasingly difficult situation and significant declines in customer traffic in city centers. In its study “Vital inner cities” HDE had determined that consumers rate the attractiveness of their German city centers with (school-)grade 3+ (= C) only, which means mediocre.

To conclude: the German retail market in total is still growing, but only due to online-sales. Brick-and-mortar retail is at best stagnating if not slightly decreasing. This finding again contributes to my thesis that there are two predominant trends: e-commerce and discounters. Time seems over for department-stores, mass-market or independent retailers, at least as long as they do not become a significant player in the online game.

Sources:
HDE – Handelsverband Deutschland, „Konjunkturumfragen“
IFH – Institut für Handelsforschung, „Studie Onlinehandel im B2C e-Commerce”
Photo – Pixabay under Creative Commons License