Market entry strategy for exports to Germany

Our local teams plan & execute

If Germany is a relatively unknown market for you, you need a clear market entry strategy. This may be different from the strategies you have used so far, as the market structure and the competition is different.

Alliance experts helps you to check, adjust or define your market entry strategy, so that your can safely start with a distributor search or with your business development.

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Oppportunities for international business in Germany

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

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.

Exports to Germany

Germany is one of the leading European markets for cross-border trade, both for consumer products as for business-to-business products and services. It has many opportunities for both commodities as high-quality goods. But selling in Germany requires a specific approach which may be different from the rest of Europe.

Up to the 20th century Germany consisted of various independent kingdoms, duchies and city states. As these were relatively small and heavily dependent on each other, this has created a culture in which modesty and the pursuit of agreement are important values. The protestant beliefs, mainly practised in the north, have only added to this.


This means also that the sales process can be longer than normal, with more contact points, and personal sales is still valued very much. It also means that once they have chosen for a specific brand, Germans won’t switch so easily, although this will be less with the younger generations.

A website providing extensive information, a well trained call-center and a good guarantee policy is important. Also pay attention to online reviews and -if applicable in your sector- articles written by journalists about your products.


The group that has the highest purchasing power in Germany is the 55 years and above category.  Though the younger generation always appears to be more online savvy, it is the older group that is is catching the eye of local retail players. Even the 65 plus age group is fast catching up to adopt online shopping habits in Germany. German consumers are using their mobile phones to compare prices even when shopping in a store.


Germany is also one of the leading European markets for e-commerce cross-border trade, and their already established delivery infrastructure is another huge benefit to retailers looking to reach the country’s 58 million online shoppers.


The fact that over 50% of these shoppers are already purchasing from international sites, again reiterates the opportunity Germany provides. Click and collect stations are becoming more popular due to customer service convenience but the click and collect concept is yet to be adopted by German shoppers.

As of 2014, twenty-eight  German companies have made it to the Top 100 European E-Commerce Companies. Zalando is one of the successful local brands, that launched a mobile first strategy in 2015 and has captured 15 international markets across the globe, owing to its prowess in the areas of Technology, Marketing, Fashion and Logistics.


Consumers are becoming increasingly demanding. They are exercising a stronger will in purchase decisions regarding purchase points, shopping behaviour and frequency. Thus, it is very important to combine different sales and marketing channels to be able to cater to a wider clientele. This variety is however lacking in the German market place.

“Click and Collect” combines offline and online shopping. This approach in shopping has entered the in home furnishing markets. Click and collect stations are becoming more popular due to customer service convenience but the click and collect concept is yet to be adopted by German shoppers.


Parcel service providers are now facing a challenge in order to meet the changing demands of the German consumer. Hence, they have begun offering free deliveries, same-day deliveries, pre-booked delivery time frames and eco-friendly delivery models. This industry presents business opportunities due to its competitiveness.


The inclination to pay online is a growing one in Germany though they are traditionally known as being averse at taking risks. However, online payments for expensive commodities will only gain popularity once return and refund methods are introduced into the German market.

Use our support to enter the market in Germany

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.

We are active in over 30 countries

We can compare different markets and as we can help you in all of them, we only favor the market that may work out best for you.

Reduce your risks

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

Learn from our financial perspective

We help you draft the business case for your market entry, weighing potential turnover and margins against the costs for market entry and further marketing.

Four questions to define your market entry strategy

Entering a new market takes time and resources, so it is good to ensure that Germany is open for your product and that you have good chances on finding a positioning that really pays off.

Is this the right country?

Why pick Germany from over 200 countries to choose from? We always like to know your considerations, as other markets may be easier to penetrate.

How big is the market?

Data from market research reports won’t tell you how your specific product will be received. For this you need an expert opinion and comparisons with similar products. Our local teams can do this.

Wat is the market structure?

Where will your end-users typically look for your product or service? Is this online of offline? Who controls these sales channels and how easy is it to find the right positioning? We know the market from inside out.

What are regulations?

Have you checked import duties, taxes and other regulations? Your product may need certifications or a local representative. We can easily check for you.

With the above data we can start building a business case for your market entry and decide on the best target group to approach. From there we can continue for you with a distributor search or with direct business development.

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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    We are active in over 30 countries