The importance of the internet as a sales channel is rapidly growing. 24% of German businesses are already selling their products and services over the internet. This is an increase by 33% as compared to last year. According to the German Association for Information Management, Telecommunications and New Media (BITKOM), this not only helps businesses to enter new markets but also to save a lot of costs, e.g. for office space and the manual registration of clients´ data given that online clients enter their personal data themselves.
Among the 27 EU member states Germany is currently ranking 6th with regard to the number of orders placed over the internet. Leading in this respect is Denmark where one third of businesses received orders online in the year 2007. Next in this list are Great Britain (29%), Ireland, Sweden (27% each) and the Netherlands (26%). Striking is the fact that some countries which are known for their openness to new technologies are not among the leaders when it comes to online ordering: in Finland, for example, just 15% of businesses receive orders online, as was revealed by Eurostat, the European Statistical Office.
In Germany online ordering is in particular widespread among companies employing at least 250 people. In the year 2007 online orders were received by 42% of businesses in this size group while this percentage had been just 17% five years ago. German major companies are currently ranking 3rd in Europe behind Denmark and Irland as far as online ordering is concerned.
Small and medium-sized entities (SMEs) employing between 50 and 249 people are also doing quite well with regard to online ordering: 29% of companies of this size received online orders in the year 2007. By European comparison, however, German SMEs came only sixth in this respect. German small companies with up to 49 employees are also ranking 6th in this respect. While in the year 2003 just 8% of small businesses received orders online, this percentage increased to 23% in 2007 which corresponds to plus by 300 percent over a five-year period.