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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Germany / Deutschland –

Source: Destatis Federal Statistical Office

Press release No.N 063 from October 5, 2020

Real sales losses in department stores of 42.1% from 1999 to 2019, online trade doubled its sales in the same period (+120.3%)
Loss of sales in stationary clothing retailing due to the Corona crisis: -11.6% calendar and seasonally adjusted in August 2020 compared to February 2020
Online purchases increased the most in 2019 compared to 2006 in the food, cosmetics and drugstore product group (+20 percentage points)
In 2019, almost a fifth (17%) of small retail companies did not sell via their own website

WIESBADEN – While the Corona crisis caused additional sales increases in the already dynamic online and mail order business, it has further aggravated the economic situation of the classic department stores. As reported by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), according to preliminary results, real sales in department stores fell by 2.4% in August 2020 compared to the same month last year. From April to June 2020, the industry’s real loss in revenue compared to the 2nd quarter of 2019 was 21.3%. Adjusted for calendar and seasonally, sales in department stores still did not reach the pre-crisis level in August 2020 (-1.2% compared to February 2020). Department store branches are closing in many places, and city centers and pedestrian zones are thus becoming less attractive.

The online and mail order business, on the other hand, is the clear winner of the Corona crisis: In August 2020, the industry was able to increase its real sales by 22.9% compared to the same month last year. From April to June 2020, real sales growth in online and mail order sales was 32.0% compared to the 2nd quarter of 2019. In August 2020, calendar and seasonally adjusted, online retailers achieved 19.6% more sales than in February 2020, before many shops had to close for weeks or were less frequented due to corona.

Increases in sales in online retail are primarily at the expense of department stores

Even before the Corona crisis, the strong online trade was a great competition for the stores in the stationary retail trade, i.e. for the specialist trade and department stores. The online trade was able to more than double its real sales in the period from 1999 to 2019 (+120.3%). 20 years ago the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon, opened its first warehouse in Germany, and around the same time the online marketplace Ebay Germany began offering its services to a larger audience. From 1999 to 2019, the boom in online retail went hand in hand with the decline of department stores: During this period, they lost 42.1% of their real sales. The stationary retail trade increased its real sales in the period under review by 11.2%, but with this growth remained significantly below that of the online competition.

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Clothing, sporting goods and shoes were the most popular goods among online shoppers in 2019

One reason for the declining sales of the large department store chains is likely to be their range, which ultimately cannot keep up with the variety and prices of the offers on the Internet. The department stores do a large part of their business with fashion and cosmetics. In addition, there is often a selection of household goods and toys, and in well-stocked houses there is also a grocery department. But for many years now, more and more consumers have been purchasing these products over the Internet. 68% of online buyers aged 10 and over bought clothing, sporting goods and shoes over the Internet in 2019. That was 19 percentage points more than in 2006. This product group was the most popular online product in 2019.

With a share of 53%, there was also strong online demand for private consumer goods and household goods, which in addition to vehicles and furniture include dishes, washing machines, fabrics, handicraft materials and toys – all of which are classic items in the department stores’ range. In this product group, too, online purchases increased in 2019 compared to 2006 (+ 4 percentage points). Groceries, cosmetics and drugstore products are now also bought much more frequently online: in Germany, almost every third online buyer (29%) ordered products in this category on the web in 2019; in 2006 it was only one or every eleventh person (9%). Overall, the number of Internet users aged 10 and over who shop online rose from a good 35 million to around 55 million people in the period under review.

Online purchases and orders over the Internet from 10 years of age in the last 12 months

in %
2006 without shoes2006 also train and plane tickets as well as other travel services2006 without everyday necessities
Clothing, sporting goods, shoes 1
Consumer Goods
Vacation accommodations 2
Groceries, daily necessities 3

Downward trend in stationary clothing retail reinforced by the corona crisis

Taking the example of the fashion industry, the decline in stationary retail and the boom in online retail becomes clear once again: Between 1999 and 2019, real sales in online clothing retail rose by 90.6%, while stationary fashion retailers only saw a slight real increase in sales (+ 0.3 %). In the Corona crisis, the stationary clothing trade – unlike, for example, the food retail or the hardware store – was not one of the winning industries. In August 2020, brick-and-mortar clothing retail sales in real terms were 11.4% less than in the same month of the previous year. In contrast, the online clothing trade increased its real sales by 23.0% as of August 2019.

Smaller trading companies sell their goods more often via marketplaces than via their own website

How well or how badly brick-and-mortar retailers get through the Corona crisis depends not least on whether smaller specialist retailers sell their goods via digital channels or not. Before the Corona crisis in 2019, only a quarter (25%) of the companies in the retail sector (retail, wholesale, and maintenance and repair of motor vehicles) sold goods or services via a website or an app. In the case of the smallest companies with up to nine employees it was only 23%, while 59% of the companies with 250 or more employees used the Internet as a sales channel. Almost all of these large corporations (96%) did so through their own website. In contrast, almost a fifth (17%) of the small businesses did not use their own website for sales. The smaller the company, the more often the goods are sold via online marketplaces: 63% of the small businesses that sold their goods on the Internet offered them on marketplaces, of the large companies it was less than half (46%).

Additional Information:• Retail, August 2020Online shopping in an EU comparisonE-commerce and information and communication technologies in companies: Industry comparison trade, manufacturing, hospitality, information and communication

Methodological notes In all reports on economic indicators, the different comparison periods must be observed. The focus of the economic observation is the comparison with the previous month / quarter. From this the economic development can be read. The comparison with the previous year serves as a long-term level comparison and is independent of seasonal fluctuations. In the current Corona crisis, the strong declines, especially in March / April 2020 and the recovery that has slowly returned since then, can lead to very different results compared to the previous month / quarter and the previous year. Both perspectives are important: How is the economic development compared to the previous month / quarter, and how far is the catching up process compared to the previous year’s level? In order to enable a direct comparison to the pre-crisis level, a comparison to February 2020 and the 4th quarter of 2019 will be shown in all press releases on economic indicators, which are available calendar and seasonally adjusted, for the time being.

The surveys on the use of information and communication technologies in companies and private households were carried out with financial support from the European Union.

In addition to other indicators for classifying the economic consequences of the corona pandemic, the results are also on the special page Corona statistics available on the website of the Federal Statistical Office.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

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