Which devices do Germans use to shop online? And what does this mean for sellers?
When it comes to online shopping, Germans like large screens. Compared to most other countries in the world, purchases via mobile devices are rather unpopular. Here is why.
Germans prefer large screens
According to a current survey from 2018, 76 % of Indonesian internet users had bought something via their mobile phones in the month prior to the survey (China 74 %, Thailand 71 %, South Korea 63 %). And German internet users? You have to scroll down to the very bottom of the list to find them: only 29 % of them stated that they had recently bought something via their smartphone (source: We Are Social; Hootsuite, Digital 2019, page 192). This is 26 percentage points below the world wide average of 55 %.
Reasons for niche existence of mobile shopping
If you ask us Germans about the reasons for hardly using smartphones for online shopping, the most common answer we give is that the screen is too small. Germans do a lot of research and comparison before buying a product (see my related blog post) and this just works better on larger screens. Other reasons are a slow mobile connection, problems using mobile websites or a bad experience in the past (source: PWC, Total Retail 2017).
What do Germans buy via their smartphones?
When Germans use smartphones to shop online, we rather buy fashion and books than electronics (source: intelliAd E-Commerce Branchenindex Q1/2018). The most probable reason for this is that research and comparison, the main reason for preferring larger screens, is not so important here: if you buy shoes or jeans you know your preferred model and size. And if you liked the last Grisham you will probably like the new Grisham, too. There is no need to spend time and data volume on investigation.
The screen size to purchase price ratio
And of course there is a correlation between scree size and expenditure: the higher the purchase price the larger the screen. In the second quarter of 2018 the average purchase in e-commerce was 109 USD via smartphone, 118 USD via tablet and 153 USD via PC (source: Monetate EQ2 2018). Although these figures look at worldwide purchases I believe that in Germany the average price of products bought via smartphone will probably be below 109 USD.
What does this mean for you?
If you are selling your products in Germany on the Amazon Marketplace and want to address mobile shoppers your product description should not be too long. A short, well structured text with a focus on the main aspects of your product will probably attract more buyers that a long text which is difficult to read on a small device.
And if you are selling your products outside the Amazon Marketplace and have a chance to influence the design of the mobile online shop, it should be easy to use, convenient and interactive (e.g. through chatbots). And you should also consider that German mobile internet is rather slow and that a lot of mobile phone users only have very limited monthly data volumes, so your shop should be modest when it comes to necessary data speed and data volume.
Daniel Hampe, 14.03.2019
PS: If you would like to share your thoughts on this article or discuss possibilities to optimize your sales on the German Amazon Marketplace, please get in touch with me.