German quarterly e-commerce figures: strongest growth in D2C and multichannel sales


Bevh (Bundesverband E-Commerce und Versandhandel Deutschland e.V), Ecommerce Europe’s German national association, published the e-commerce growth figures of third quarter of 2021. While public life is gradually restarting, the third quarter of 2021 shows the strongest e-commerce growth since 2017 in Germany. In the first nine months of the year, e-commerce with goods generated total (accumulated) revenues of about €67.4 billion. As can be seen from the table below, notably online direct-to-consumers (D2C) sales by manufacturers (+20.5 %) and multichannel sales (+21.2 %) show the most significant increase compared to the third quarter of 2020.

Total turnover and revenue growth in Q3/2021 compared to the prior-year quarter by type of business (only e-commerce)
Total turnover in million euros Change compared to Q3/2020
Multichannel 3.502 21.2 %
Online retail 6.928 11.5 %
Online Marketplaces 10.672 15.3 %
Manufacturers / D2C 880 20.5 %
Teleshopping 185 -16.6 %
Other 28 22.7 %


Over the whole year (January to September 2021), no other sales type was able to grow as strongly in percentage terms as D2C sales (+23.2 %). While the turnover still represents a smaller segment of the market, also in the third quarter, direct sales grew significantly.

In the last quarter, the multichannel retailers have seen the strongest growth. This shows an interesting trend, as retailers were able to open their brick-and-mortar shops again this quarter, but consumers have still chosen to also order online. In the last year, multichannel retailers have been very important for the resilience of the full retail sector. The crisis has accelerated the digital transformation of many businesses that were previously only selling offline and has sparked the development of new omnichannel commerce solutions. Ecommerce Europe believes that the development towards more omnichannel retail is set to continue in the next years.

In the various product groups, the strongest growth can be identified for food, DIY & flowers, hobbies & leisure items. The fastest growing cluster of goods were everyday items, including food, drugstore products and pet food. Revenues from digital services, including travel bookings, also grew, but have not yet been able to make up for the losses from the previous year. Consumers still appear to be more cautious about spending their money on services than before the pandemic broke out.