Find distributors and sales channels in Germany

Our local teams will do the work

Finding distributors or retail sales channels might be straightforward, but discovering the right one that drives revenue for your business is a real challenge.

With our Distributor Search service we make this task significantly easier for you! Our local teams have the knowledge, a vast network of distributors and retail channels and a proven methodology.

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Find the right retail channels in Germany

Germany is one of the largest markets of Europe, but also a conservative one and difficult to penetrate from abroad.

As of 2024, Germany’s population is estimated at about 83.25 million people. This represents a slight decrease in population growth, with a density of approximately 239 people per square kilometer. The country has also experienced significant immigration, including a substantial influx of refugees.

Germany is a major global economic player, renowned for its industrial output and robust economy. The country has a strong focus on manufacturing and export, especially in the automotive and machinery sectors.

Germany is home to several large cities, with Berlin being the largest, followed by Hamburg and Munich. The country also has a large number of smaller cities and towns, with a total of 82 cities having populations of more than 100,000 people.

More about German distribution channels

Germany’s distribution structure is characterised by:

  • a large number of small independent shops
  • low levels of concentration, other other countries have much more retail chains
  • the predominance of distribution in city centers and urban areas
  • few “hypermarket” style stores

This forces any new supplier to work through mostly regional distributors, in order to get sufficient penetration. An agent or importer may be needed to service them all.

It may be wise to focus first on one region in Germany, or to concentrate with more high-end products in the major cities of the country.

Top-5 supermarkets in Germany

Edeka: Edeka is the largest supermarket retail chain in Germany with a turnover of €62.7 billion in 2021. The chain operates several banners, including Edeka, Marktkauf, Netto, NP Niedrig-Preis, Diska, and SPAR Express, and has a vast network of around 11,126 stores.

Lidl & Kaufland: These two brands, both part of the Schwarz Group, collectively achieved a turnover of €48.4 billion in 2021. They operate a combined total of 3,992 stores in Germany, with Lidl having 3,242 outlets and Kaufland boasting 750 stores.

REWE: REWE reported an estimated turnover of €33.94 billion in 2021. The group operates several banners, including nahkauf, Penny, REWE, and others, with a network of 6,725 stores in Germany.

Aldi: Including both Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd, Aldi reported a turnover of €30.25 billion in 2021. Across Germany, it operates 4,186 stores. Aldi has a long history, dating back to its foundation in 1913.

Lekkerland: This wholesale and retail company, part of the REWE Group, reported a turnover of €8.2 billion in 2020.

Trade shows in Germany

Germany has many trade shows which are an excellent way to showcase your products and to orient yourself on the market. However, due to the sheer size of these shows chances are small that a purchasing manager of a major chain will accidentally visit your booth. A dedicated distributor search, preferably in another moment of the year, may yield more results for substantially less than the costs of a booth.

If you decide to have your booth at a German trade show, be well prepared and have your message tailored to the European and especially German visitors. It might be a good idea to contact relevant distribution channels in advance and invite them to your booth.

Why choose our distributor search service?

We know the market from inside-out

We work with local teams, who already know the market, speak the language and know the business culture.

Operational from day 1

We have a clear approach for your market entry. We just need to dive into the benefits of your product, and we are ready to start.

Risk Mitigation

We help you avoid cultural misunderstandings, compliance issues, and other risks associated with entering a new market.

Continuous Support

We provide ongoing support, ensuring your new partnerships thrive and adapt to evolving business and market needs.

Strategy for Finding Your Ideal Distribution Partner in Germany

Finding the ideal distributor involves more than just a search; key is convincing the distributors or retail chains with the broadest reach to work with you. That is why we put a lot of attention on the right positioning among any competition and helping you with the right pitch.

 

1. Choose target group

  • Where are your users?
  • What distribution channels to reach them?
  • Who are the channel decision makers?
  • What is important to them?

2. Prepare your pitch

  • How do you position yourself?
  • Who is your competition?
  • What volumes and margin will you bring?
  • What data do you have to proof that?

3. Reach out

  • Approach decision makers
  • Pitch your offering & answer questions
  • Follow-up sufficiently
  • Close the deal

4. Nurture & grow

  • Arrange logistics
  • Launch your product
  • Support in marketing
  • PR & Events
  • Evaluate & optimize

…and back to the first step to search for additional channels

Typically the first steps and approaching decision makers can be done in a number of months, closing the deal and doing a launch may take longer.

Get your proposal directly

    In , our experienced business developers work for you 20 hours per month for . Every month we report on what we have done and plan actions and deliverables for the next month. This is a 12-month plan where you can scale up and down our efforts when needed.

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