In the past two decades, e-commerce has experienced rapid growth in Germany. At the turn of the millennium, sales in online trading reached just 1.3 billion euros. In 2019, 59.2 billion euros have already been achieved. High annual growth rates are also expected in the future. These are the 5 largest German e-commerce companies: This article is based on the unique List of the 100 largest German e-commerce companies.
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- Excel list of the 100 largest e-commerce companies in Germany
- Includes: revenues (2015-2018), number of employees, contact details, executives
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- Last update: 14.05.2020
Place 1: Otto (GmbH & Co KG), Hamburg: 13.4 billion euros turnover (2018/19)
Otto was founded in 1949 as a classic mail order company, the “Otto Catalogue” is a household name. Even today, the mail order business still forms the core of the business model. However, the catalogue has lost much of its importance. Online trading accounts for the largest share of sales. It accounts for about three quarters of Otto sales. Otto operates around 100 online shops and is considered the number 2 in Germany in e-commerce after Amazon. Otto is the undisputed leader among German online retailers.
Place 2: Zalando SE, Berlin: 6.5 billion euros turnover (2019)
Zalando was founded in 2008 following the example of the US mail order company Zappos. As investors, the Samwer brothers with their company Rocket Internet were godfathers. They have already helped many e-commerce start-ups around the world. Zalando is a company that has been focusing almost exclusively on e-commerce from the very beginning. Originally focused only on shoes, the Zalando range now also includes fashion and cosmetics. In 2013, Zalando GmbH became an AG. 2014 an SE. In autumn 2014 the company went public.
Place 3: Klingel Group (K – Mail Order GmbH & Co. KG), Pforzheim: 1.0 billion euros sales (2018)
Klingel (today officially: K – Mail Order GmbH & Co. KG) describes itself as Germany’s third largest mail order company, in any case it is the oldest existing one. The company was founded in 1923. As with other traditional mail order companies, a considerable part of the business is now conducted via e-commerce. Klingel has over 60 online shops, but is only in the top quarter of shop operators in this country in terms of online sales. This may be due to the fact that the range of products on offer is primarily aimed at the 50+ target group. It includes fashion, shoes, jewellery and watches, home textiles, household and garden products and electrical appliances.
Place 4: Thomann GmbH, Burgebrach-Treppendorf: 920 million sales (2019)
One would hardly suspect a global company in the Upper Franconian hamlet of Treppendorf near Bamberg. But that is the Thomann GmbH. The online shop for musicians’ supplies operated by Thomann has made the company the largest music supplies retailer in the world in terms of sales. The family business started in 1954 when the travelling musician Hans Thomann Senior founded a music shop in his home town and from then on earned his income as a travelling salesman. Under his son the business was consistently expanded and the internet opened the way to worldwide distribution.
Place 5: notebooksbilliger.de AG, Sarstedt: 879 million euros turnover (2018)
The company name notebooksbilliger.de AG has been in existence since 2008, but the company was founded as a software house back in 1989. With the advent of the Internet and the spread of e-commerce, the business focus has shifted. Today the main business is the mail order business for notebooks and mobile devices via the two online shops notebooksbilliger.de (Germany) and notebooksbilliger.at (Austria). The company’s headquarters are in Sarstedt near Hildesheim. Further branches are located in Berlin, Potsdam, Munich, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf and Eggenstein (near Karlsruhe).
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