Print Version  Email

Other Translations

Germany - Selling and buying

Contents extracted from the comprehensive atlas of international trade by Export Entreprises

Reaching the consumers

Marketing opportunities

Consumer behavior: Every month, the GFK market research Institute publishes information about consumption in Germany. German consumers are accustomed to purchasing via catalog and are increasingly more receptive to shopping on Internet platforms. Price and quality are the most important factors.
Consumer profile: The German consumer shows a strong propensity to compare prices and patronize "discount" stores. He is very aware of special offers, and readily goes to different shops in order to get better prices. He has very strict criteria when making a choice, according to the type of goods he wants to buy. For consumer durables, the criteria are in order safety and quality, prestige, comfort and convenience and price. For everyday goods, the only determining factor is price. For professional capital goods, the obsession with safety leads to buying criteria based on quality, reliability, the supplier's follow up and after sales service. Price is not one of the dominant criteria for this type of product. On the other hand, for minor equipment or industrial supplies, the price factor predominates.
Main advertising agencies:

Distribution network

Evolution of the sector: With more than 82 million inhabitants, the German market is the largest in Europe; it is very competitive and segmented, with many sectors and products being saturated; the quality and services offered are essential. The main economic areas are North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden Wurtenberg, Bavaria, Hamburg, Berlin and Hanover, plus Leipzig for former East Germany.
Types of outlet: Germany's distribution structure is characterized by:
- the large number of small independent shops;
- the sector's low level of concentration, compared with the main European markets (France, United Kingdom, Belgium);
- the predominance of distribution in city centers and urban areas;
- very few "hypermarket" style stores;
- the domination of "hard discount" stores and the importance of distance selling (mail order, e-commerce, teleshopping).

German distribution is divided between the following distribution channels: Traditional retail trade (24.8%); Specialized hypermarkets (22%); Non-food chain stores (13%); DIY hypermarkets (11.7%); Discounters (11%); Supermarkets (7.9%); Distance selling (5.8%); Department stores (3.8%). Sources: Ifo-Institut & destatis

The three leading German distribution groups are Metro, Rewe and Edeka/Ava. "Hard discount" is the leading type of food distribution, registering growth of about 10% and generating 40% of total food sales. The rise of discounters such as Lidl or Aldi has forced distributors to wage a price war: so, insufficient margins may slow down the modernization of sales outlets and the development of new distribution concepts. Relations between distributors and their suppliers, said to be very difficult, have become even more strained. A trend towards concentration has appeared and groups such as Karstadt (in German), Edeka-Tengelmann, and discounters like the American Wal-Mart are now competing hard, bringing down suppliers' margins.

Market access procedures

Economic Cooperation: Member of the European Union
Member of the European Economic Area which since 1 January 1993 guarantees the free movement of most goods between European countries.
Multilateral agreements and bilateral agreements with many countries.
Non tariff barriers: As it is a member of the European Union, Germany applies the Community regulations which are valid throughout the Union.

If the EU has quite a liberal foreign trade policy, there are a certain number of restrictions, especially at the level of agricultural products, ensuing from the implementation of the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy): applying compensations when importing and exporting agricultural products to favor the development of agriculture within the EU implies a certain number of systems to control and regulate goods entering EU territory.
Moreover, for sanitary reasons, as regards the presence of Genetically Modified Organisms, if they are allowed in Europe, their presence must, for example, be systematically specified on packaging. Importing beef fed on hormones is also prohibited. The BSE crisis (called "mad cow disease") has encouraged the European authorities to reinforce phytosanitary measures to ensure the quality of meat entering and circulating in EU countries. The principle of precaution is now more widely favored: in case of doubt, import is prohibited until the non- noxiousness of the goods is proved.

Some other goods remain prohibited or subject to specific formalities. For example, medicines for human use, waste, plants or live animals.

Average Customs Duty (excluding agricultural products): Trade, inside the EU, in goods originating from one of the 27 Member States is totally free of Customs Duty. This trade consists of delivery and purchases inside the Community and not of exports and imports.
Duties for countries outside Europe are not very high, especially for industrial products (4.2% on average for the general tariff).
Customs classification: Practically speaking, it is the TARIC code (made up of 10 digits) which enables Customs duty rates to be defined as well as the Community regulations applicable when a product is imported from a country which does not belong to the European Union. To find out the Customs duty on a product based on its country of origin, you should consult the TARIC database.
Import procedures: When goods from within the Community enter Germany, the exporter must obligatorily fill out, at the end of the month, a DEB (declaration of exchange of goods) or an Intrastate Declaration.

As part of the "SAFE" standards advocated by the World Customs Organization (WCO), the European Union has set up a new system of import controls, the "Import Control System" (ICS), which aims to secure the flow of goods at the time of their entry into the customs territory of the EU. This control system, part of the Community Program eCustomer, has been in effect since January 1, 2011. Since then, operators are required to pass an Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) to the customs of the country of entry, prior to the introduction of goods into the customs territory of the European Union.

In addition to the written customs declaration, an invoice and sometimes a certificate of origin must be joined to imported products. The modernized customs code (MCC), entered into force in 2008, simplifies the procedures, for example by introducing a paperless environment and centralizing transactions.

Customs website: German Customs

Organizing goods transport

Organizing goods transport to and from: Road transport is the main means used for goods. 268 million tonnes of goods are transported by sea each year in Germany against 2,767 million tonnes by road transport.

On motorways, a tax on industrial vehicles with a gross weight over 12 tonnes has been in force since 1995. The tariffs are set per day, week, month or year and consist of a subscription which entitles the driver to a certificate which he must present.
Sea transport organizations:
Air transport organizations:
Rail transport organizations:

Domestic business directories

Copyright © 2016 Export Entreprises SA, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
 Print Version  Email
Comments &Ratings (0)
If you are a human, do not fill in this field.
Click stars to rate.
   Comments are truncated at 1000 characters