german bedding

Home & Living Industry: Popular Size and Styles of Bedding in Germany

There is no doubt that the world has become more connected, and that in several countries, there are many things that are similar or relatively similar. But there are other things that are specific to a country or region. Before you sell in a new country, you must research the market and trends to maximize your success.   

This blog focuses on the popular size and styles of bedding in Germany. This information can help you decide which products to offer to this market and increase your sales potential. 

You can also check out our blog, “Homeware and Furniture Market in Europe,” to learn more about the industry’s potential in Germany and Europe.  

Let’s start with exploring mattress sizes in Germany. In the table below, you can see the difference in numbers. This is a guide for you to have an idea. Remember, Germans use centimeters instead of inches and do not use names for bed sizes (twin, full, queen, king); bed sizes go by numbers. The most popular bed size for adults is what you could call Single or Twin XL, 90cm x 200 cm (35 x 78).  

                                Reference for popular size mattresses  

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     Box Spring Bed                                                                                                   Platform Bed                                                        

           

 

What bedding is popular in Germany for dressing the bed and sleeping? 

Germans, as in other EU countries, use Duvets instead of comforters. Comforters are not famous; they are non-existent. As a background, a Duvet has two pieces, one of which is the Duvet insert, which looks like a white blanket, and the Duvet cover, which is interchangeable and has one side open with a zipper or buttons to slide in the Duvet insert.   

The most popular fillings for a Duvet insert in Germany are down and feathers. The down is used mainly for its capacity to maintain heat. Down is more expensive than feathers, and it is also finer. The higher the proportion of down in the filling, the lighter the blanket can be with equally good heat capacity.   

Feathers are larger than down, higher volume, less expensive, heavier and more robust, making them a great filling, as they offer durability and support. 

   

Regarding Duvet covers, there are different styles, colors and materials. The consensus is that Germans tend to go for solid basic color shades; white, cream, light purples, blues, pale pink, nudes and grays.   

The most widely used materials are 100% cotton or linen. But depending on the person’s sleeping needs, the fabrics they would choose are different. As a home and living brand, if you are considering offering other materials to the German market, we are sure that you are aware of the benefits of each material. This should be communicated to your customers, so they can choose what works best for them.   

Here are some general tips:   

For people that get warm quickly: 100% cotton or linen fabrics  

For people that get cold quickly: beaver, flannel, or terry cloth  

Iron-free: jersey, seersucker, microfiber, glossy satin, terry cloth, or polycotton 

As for sizing, the most popular are:  

Standard size: 135cm x 200 cm (53” x 78”) 

Comfort size (taller people): 155cm x 220cm (61” x 87”) 

Couples sharing Duvet: 200cm x 200cm (78” x 78”) 

How about fitting sheets?  

The colors and materials mentioned above also apply to fitted sheets. The difference is the size, as it depends on the size of the bed and the style (box spring or other). Here is a guide to the most popular size you can use as a home and living e-commerce brand to decide on your product portfolio.   

Now let’s talk about the most crucial sleep supporter, Pillows! 

Here’s the exciting part, pillows can seem very different from those used in the US, as the most common shape is a large square. Another type of pillow is used in the form of a large rectangle. You can see the two images below for better reference.   

     

In terms of sizing, the two main dimensions are 40 cm x 80 cm (16″ x 31″) and 80cm x 80cm (31″ x 31″). The 80×80 pillow is one of the most used in German bedrooms, but the smaller 40×80 pillow is mainly used by belly sleepers who need a small, flat pillow.   

When selecting the pillowcases, they usually come in the duvet or bed linen set. As an e-commerce home and living brand, it would be a good idea to offer sets rather than single items and ensure the correct sizing. Otherwise, you could lose potential customers. 

Lastly, here are some simple examples of a complete bed linen set  

These images show the type of bedding Germans commonly use, and give you an idea of what you could offer them. You can also find some differences between American and German bedrooms.   

Remember that the best thing for specifics is to check your target persona to appeal to them better. 

 

How can your e-commerce Home & Living brand successfully expand into the German market?

Otto is one of Germany’s most successful online marketplaces. It is the leading marketplace in this category and is among the top players in growth. Given Otto’s presence and market penetration in Germany, it can enable foreign home and living brands to enter the German market, which is the largest within the EU, and be part of its success.   

BorderGuru is part of the Otto Group, and with our Channels solution, we can help you become part of Otto’s success. We offer the tools you need to aggregate and accelerate your brand in the Otto Market.   

Are you ready to enter the German market? Contact us now to learn more about how BorderGuru can help you achieve your brand’s expansion goals.   

Zalandomain

Zalando- Europe’s Leading Marketplace for Fashion and Lifestyle Brands

What is better than your brand reaching millions of new customers through one of Europe’s leading fashion marketplaces?

Stay and learn more about Zalando Marketplace, a leading online fashion and lifestyle platform in Europe, and how your US brand can successfully expand to Europe through Zalando.

Zalando was founded in Berlin, Germany, in 2008. It started as an online shoe store and has now become a leading online platform for fashion and lifestyle products in Europe. The company has made bold moves from the start and has never given up on its goal of reimagining the fashion market for the good of all.

Their substantial expertise in fashion, technology, and convenience has enabled them to offer their customers a wide range of brands and services tailored to their needs. This is how they reimagine fashion.

Zalando’s strategy consists of three main elements: customers, brand partners, and infrastructure.

  • Customers: Zalando is a customer-focused company. Its platform is based on providing the best user experience by offering the maximum availability of current trendy fashion products and inspiring them with a high level of personalization, creating inclusive products suitable for every customer. They also invest heavily in suppliers, payment, and customer service to meet customer requirements.

 

  • Brand partners: As brand partners profit from Zalando’s customer base by becoming part of their platform, they provide digital and infrastructure services that make it a great business opportunity for brands to broaden their customer reach and sales growth.

 

  • Infrastructure: Zalando, as an online platform, Infrastructure is the basis for offering its service to customers and partners. They are committed to internally developed and continuously improved technological solutions and processes. Zalando’s expertise in warehousing, delivery, customer service processes, and content creation is fundamental to their business.

 

Due to its strategy and continuous improvements, Zalando has currently achieved these results:

These results show how successful it has been in the fashion and lifestyle industry in e-commerce in Europe. Proving to be one of the best options for brands that want to step up and reach millions of customers on this continent. Zalando delivers results, reliability, and commitment to the table

The app 

Technology is the key to Zalando’s growth. Having an app that meets the needs of today’s technology-savvy consumers is essential to stay competitive.

The app was launched in Germany for the first time in 2012 and the rest of the EU countries in 2014. Since then, the app has improved and offers new features as consumer needs and trends change.

Zalando’s vision is to be the first choice for all consumers’ fashion needs. Their three premises are endless choice, seamless convenience, and tailored digital experience.

Do you want your brand to succeed in the European market? Are you interested in offering your unique products, not in one or two, but in 25 EU markets?   

As can be seen, this is possible with Zalando, which has 45 million active customers in 25 European countries. For a unique user experience, it offers more than 20 local payment options, regional logistic service providers, and content and customer service in 19 languages.

Zalando offers brands endless opportunities to achieve brand awareness, customer reach, and sales growth goals. They have run more than 14,000 marketing campaigns, worked with more than 1,600 brand partners, and have a network of more than 500K influencers within Europe.

With all this, your brand will have the exposure and tools necessary to succeed in the German and European markets.

Build positive habits for a better future for fashion, the environment, and society

As a large and successful e-commerce platform, Zalando is responsible for caring about people and the environment. This means every action has positive or negative consequences, and it’s in the company’s hands to implement measures that result in a positive impact and act as a role model.

Zalando is fully committed to sustainability. Therefore, they want to nurture a better future for fashion and bring along their customers and brand partners.

In the last few years, it has taken several measures to be part of the solution towards sustainability. These are:

  • Source 100% renewable electricity and reduced emissions from their operations
  • Eliminate single-use plastic by 2023
  • Launched the sustainable flag in their Fashion Store to help customers find more sustainable items, and tripled their more sustainable fashion assortment
  • They launched their first Circularity strategy in 2021
  • Created a section for customers to purchase secondhand clothes
  • Have a team to teach their customers how to make their clothes last longer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that you know more about everything Zalando has built to provide brands with the resources and customers they need to succeed in the European market… Are you excited and imagining your brand being part of this booming marketplace? 

Zalando is the answer if your US brand is ready to take the next step in international growth. Europe is an important market for the fashion and lifestyle e-commerce industry, as sales continue to grow, and this marketplace has successfully driven through it.

It is not impossible or difficult for your brand to start selling in Zalando. As BorderGuru, a member of the Otto Group, we have the perfect solution for your unique US fashion brand to enter the European market via Zalando with our Marketplace Partners Solution.

So, what are you waiting for? Contact us now!
American products in Europe

How to Expand Your Brand into Europe Successfully

The best thing about owning an online store is the ability to reach a wider audience of consumers around the world. After successfully establishing your brand and products in your local market and gaining positive customer feedback, your website may also gain traction from the global market.

So now, you may think, where and how can I expand my business? Then is probably the right time to look at expanding into Europe.

As e-commerce continues to grow in Europe, with access to up to 500 million online shoppers in 27 countries, it offers US brands a massive opportunity to grow successfully in this region.

We know that international expansion comes with challenges, and Europe is no different, as each country has its language and culture, and there is legal compliance that you must follow. Fortunately, you are in the right place, and here you will learn the benefits, how to overcome these challenges, and how BorderGuru can help you successfully expand into Europe.

The main benefits of expanding into Europe 

  • E-commerce Sales growth 

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the growth of e-commerce worldwide and in Europe. After the pandemic, it continues to grow significantly, which means the online sales channel in this region is in its boom phase.

Statista estimates that European online sales are expected to reach $500 billion this year. As the use of mobile phones for shopping increases, new consumers are likely to come from this stream. Statista also conducted a survey showing that consumers in France, Spain, Ireland, and Germany buy more frequently via mobile devices than before the pandemic.

As shown in the graph below, four European countries are in the top 10 with the highest e-commerce sales in 2021.

This shows the importance of the European region for e-commerce businesses, and that it is the best time for your brand to consider being part of this growth.

  • Less-saturated markets

As mentioned above, e-commerce sales have increased in Europe recently, but the market is not yet as saturated as the US. Some countries, especially in Eastern Europe, where e-commerce has just begun to boom. This means US brands can compete and have higher chances of success.

  • Access to a Diverse Market

Expanding into Europe opens opportunities to sell to more than 500 million online shoppers in 27 countries. Online shopping in these markets has grown, and it is a market open to continuing shopping online and from countries outside the EU. It is a market looking for new, unique, and innovative brands. They see US brands as those that tick these boxes.

These enable US brands to successfully enter and develop their brand in Europe. Because EU countries are economically interconnected, brands can also decide where they want to expand first, depending on the demand for their products. From there, reaching more consumers in other EU countries is easy. So it is easy even if you first decide to enter one or two countries, if you later want to sell in other countries.

  • Single currency in EU countries

This is beneficial, as you will only deal with one currency, and the prices of your products will also be in euros. It is also easier to do a competitor’s price analysis and choose the best price for your products, as you can compare it to those in different European countries, all in Euros. In addition, it would be easier for your company to exchange Euros for USD when it receives earnings, if this is necessary.

Aspects to consider when expanding into Europe

  • Cultural Differences Across Europe

Before expanding into Europe, it is essential to understand that each country has its own culture and language. Once brands have an idea of the country or countries that have a demand for their products, they do their research on the local market or markets. This aspect is essential, especially when communicating your brand and products to consumers, as you want consistency in marketing, in the tailored message and positioning of your brand and products.

In this regard, it is essential to consider the following points:

  • Cultural customs
  • Local language
  • Local currency
  • Local forms of payment

With our Marketplace Partners Solution, you don’t have to worry, as we provide content localization for your product descriptions and marketing, local payment forms, and prices in local currency.

  • Customer service 

Customer satisfaction is key to the success of your brand. The two main aspects to consider are language and time zones. For US brands, it may be challenging to have a customer service team that can speak every European language and be available in the same time zone as EU customers.

For this reason, we provide customer service in the local time zone and the language of EU consumers, so that they have the best purchasing experience with your brand.

  • Legal & Tax Compliance Can Be Complex

Regarding legal compliance, it can be challenging to do so alone, as there are several requirements, such as setting up a legal entity and complying with tax authorities (IOSS number and UK VAT). These can be overwhelming, time-consuming, and expensive.

But don’t let these stop you from expanding into Europe. We make European expansion easier by providing you with tax and legal compliance, so you do not have to deal with it alone.

  • Warehousing 

Deciding the country and place to store your products securely and conveniently, and managing them alone from abroad, can be complex and expensive. We are the solution for you! By joining our Marketplace Partners Solution, you do not have to deal with warehousing as is included.

  • Logistics 

Logistics can be a make-up or breaker for your business to succeed in the EU market. This is probably one of the most challenging elements. Good infrastructure and investment are needed, and a high revenue is required. However, we have good news for you. With our Marketplace Partners Solution, you do not have to worry about logistics, as we handle everything from fulfillment, pick packing, and shipping to even returns for your products.

Expand your US brand to Europe with BorderGuru’s Marketplace Partners Solution

We are experts in the European market and help US brands successfully expand into Europe. With our Marketplace Partners Solution, you can sell your products prominently and exclusively in European lifestyle marketplaces. We provide your business with content localization, tax and legal compliance, logistics, customer service, and more in 27 countries.

Learn more below about the most popular fashion and lifestyle marketplaces in Germany and Europe:

 

Founded in 1949, Otto.de is Germany’s biggest fashion and lifestyle marketplace with:

  • Online sales of more than €11 billion
  • Over 3,400 sales partners
  • 11.5 million active customers
  • 3.6 million new customers
  • 70% of visits are via mobile devices
  • Ten orders per second

Founded in 2014, it is one of the fastest growing marketplaces in Europe, and Hamburg’s first unicorn since 2018. As one of the most significant fashion and lifestyle platforms in Europe, it has:

  • Active in 26 European markets
  • Sales over €1.17bn
  • Over 3,500 brands
  • Over 500,000 items
  • More than 45 million unique active users per month
  • More than 26 million app installs
  • Over 1000 influencer collaborations per month

It was established in 2008 as a pioneer in e-commerce, which has become one of the most innovative fashion platforms in Europe. It is a unique marketplace with a betting process, providing exclusivity and visibility to its brands.

As a leading European online platform for fashion has:

  • Presence in 23 European countries
  • Net sales of around €8 billion
  • More than 5,800 brands
  • 49 million active customers
  • 7 billion visits per year
  • More than 90% of traffic comes from mobile devices

These marketplaces will help your fashion brand reach millions of European prospects that can convert into loyal customers. They are your choice for you to tap into a market full of growth opportunities.

Contact us now to find out more about how you can get started! Do not miss the opportunities waiting for your US brand in Europe.
About You1.jpg

ABOUT YOU- The Most Inspiring Online Fashion Shop in Europe

Are you a US fashion brand looking to grow internationally? This is your lucky day. 

Stay and learn more about the fastest growing fashion marketplace in Europe; AboutYou.

AboutYou was founded in Hamburg, Germany, in 2014. It is a member of the Otto Group a global retail and services group with a clear focus on innovation and digital transformation. AboutYou as a fashion technology company with a solid and savvy team, the aim is to digitalize the classic shopping stroll by creating an inspiring, personalized and unique shopping experience on the smartphone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The vision was to create the first online destination where brands could showcase their products inspiringly, so that consumers could find and be inspired by relevant products that fit their style, regardless of the screen size, in addition to offering the most personalized fashion online shop.

AboutYou has achieved this goal of transforming how people buy fashion online, and has built a multi-award-winning app. Customers can find thousands of inspirational and versatile designs from over 3,500 brands on its website and the app.

Imagine having the opportunity to sell your designs not only in Germany, but also in other 25 European countries?

As the biggest market in the EU, Germany offers consumers keen to shop online and from foreign brands due to benefits like a wider range of products available, convenience, and better service. Also, marketplaces and smartphones are the most popular ways to shop online. Germany is a great market to start your expansion journey into Europe. Learn more about it in our blog Germany – The Biggest Online Market in Europe

With AboutYou, all this becomes possible, as it is active in Germany and other 25 European markets. With 45 million unique active users per month, more than 26 million app installs and more than 1,000 influencer collaborations, your brand will have all the exposure and tools to succeed in Europe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AboutYou is the ideal marketplace for US fashion brands. Its target market is the young generation willing to be part of not only its current success of it, but also of what the future might bring. This fashion marketplace stays current with the trends, needs and wants of consumers, and works further into the future.

 

 

Everything this marketplace does, they do it with passion, innovation and excellence, always thinking ahead and with an open mind to learn and improve for their customers. It is the same effort they put into brands so that they can succeed and work towards the same goal that focuses on their customers, who are supported in expressing themselves through unique fashion. The AboutYou team is also consistent with personalization, inspiration and mobile shopping.

With the experts in fashion e-commerce, you can be sure that your brand and collection designs are in great hands. As already mentioned, your brand will also have the highest market exposure. AboutYou works with many of the most successful European influencers and models awarded each year in the ABOUTYOU AWARDS EUROPE, which means your brand has the exposure needed to shine.

 

 

And what would an innovative brand be without being environmentally and socially responsible? 

AboutYou strongly supports sustainability, and some of the actions that have taken are:

  • One of the first companies to receive verification for the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Brand and Retail Module
  • The use of eco-friendly boxes and poly mailers 80% recycling material and fewer prints.
  • Increase transparency through new shop features, which label sustainable products and show all criteria and certificates
  • Increase the number of sustainable brands and products in their portfolio
  • Continuation of the AboutYou Vintage Wardrobe – A space where festival and event visitors can rent secondhand clothing for free and learn more about used garments and the concept of circularity

If you are a US fashion brand committed to sustainability and want to make changes to impact the environment positively, you are definitely in the right place! As AboutYou is a marketplace acting in the present for a better future and constantly looking for improvements. They want more sustainable fashion brands to be part of their sustainable project and serve the high demand that these fashion products currently have, as Europeans have become more environmentally aware. They are supporting and loving brands that are transparent about their actions and bring a positive impact to the table.

You can learn more about sustainable fashion in Europe and the German online fashion market in our previous blogs “Sustainable Fashion Industry in Europe” 

 

This is the best time for your brand to expand its international footprint in the European market.

How can you be part of AboutYou?   

All you need to do is contact us now. BorderGuru, as a member of the Otto Group, has the Marketplace Partners Solution, which allows US fashion brands to be part of AboutYou and other exclusive marketplaces to expand into the European market. We provide brands with tools to expand into these marketplaces efficiently, allowing them to succeed.

Our solution provides businesses with localized services, tax and legal compliance, customer service, warehousing, and logistics that eliminate all complexities of international growth.

Don’t wait anymore and grow your brand successfully in the European market!

couple-furnishing-apartment-together

Homeware and Furniture Market in Europe

We have seen how sales of e-commerce have increased in recent years, especially during and after the pandemic. Growth between 2019 and 2021 was significant. It went from $3.3 trillion to $4.9 trillion, and is expected to rise to $7.3 trillion in 2025. This shows that e-commerce is here to stay and is changing not only the way we do business, but also the purchasing behavior of consumers.   

If we look at the top online selling categories worldwide in 2022, furniture is third with a forecast sales of $492.6 billion, as seen in the graph below. This is important, as furniture and homeware have been an offline market for many years. Until recently, consumers have been open to the possibility of purchasing these products online. This is because companies in this segment use new technologies to improve the experience of consumers and try to adapt it to the experience of buying in person.  

According to Technavio, by 2025, the homeware & furniture category will grow by $52.95 billion and progress at a CAGR of 9%. Since this market in the online world is still new and unexplored, there is an amazing opportunity for brands to monetize this channel.   

Where are the opportunities for US homeware & furniture brands to grow internationally?   

Let’s begin by mentioning the key consumers of online homeware and furniture products, starting with the US and followed by the UK, China, Germany, Canada and Japan. Europe will, however, have a higher importance in the growth of this segment. From 2020 to 2025, this market will account for 42% of global sales growth.   

As shown in the graph below, Europe’s online homeware and furniture segment has grown by an average of $3,634.6 million each year from 2020 to 2022. It is expected to grow at an average rate of $2,584.825 million annually from 2023 to 2025. It seems a little less than in the previous period, but that’s because the boom was during the pandemic when people were confined to stay indoors. However, this also helped to develop the online sales of this segment. 

                                                                   

 

Within the European Union, Germany is one of the largest e-commerce markets. According to Statista, Germany was second in e-commerce revenue in 2021 with $105 billion, as France was above $120 billion. Of the total e-commerce sales in Germany, $15 billion came from homeware and furniture, which accounts for 14%. Like global e-commerce sales, the homeware and furniture segment is not the largest, so the market is not saturated. New brands have more opportunities to penetrate the German online market and be part of this growth.    

Main drivers for the increase in online home appliances and furniture in Germany 

In Germany, consumers used to buy from offline stores due to the touch-and-feel experience, but this has changed and homeware online sales have grown due to technological advances and the use of mobile phones. 

Online homeware and furniture retailers such as Otto and Ikea have implemented the following to be more attractive to consumers and reduce the reluctance to buy online.    

  • 3D product visualizations   
  • Augmented reality apps    
  • Omnichannel shopping (combine stationary showrooms & online distribution channels)

These implementations have helped customers to have a better experience when shopping online for furniture and homeware. As a result, this segment has gained traction in Germany.   

How is it best for US homeware and furniture brands to expand into Germany?  

As previously mentioned, Germany’s homeware and online furniture market has only been significantly growing recently and is not yet saturated. This has become the best channel for new brands to capitalize on in the German market.   

The ways for US online homeware and furniture brands to expand into Germany are to have their online store or join a local champion marketplace. The first option is pricey, logistically and operationally too complex, especially for SMEs that may need more extensive infrastructure to handle all international orders.

The second option, selling their products in a marketplace, is more viable, as it already has the infrastructure and resources needed to sell products in Germany. There is also awareness and respect of local customers; it is less complicated and less money is required to invest.    

Here we present the best online stores for homeware and furniture:

The top three are Otto, Amazon and Wayfair, focusing only on marketplaces. Otto is Germany’s leading online marketplace in this category, with net sales of 1.5 billion euros, and is also among the top players in growth.   

Otto marketplace is part of the OTTO Group, founded in 1949. Now with over 3,400 sale partners in the fashion, lifestyle, homeware & furniture industry and more than 11 billion euros in sales, it’s the biggest marketplace in Germany.   

Given Otto’s presence and market penetration in Germany, it can allow US homeware and furniture brands to enter the German market, which is the largest within the EU, and be part of its success. Otto has a strong presence and the infrastructure and resources to support brands entering and growing in the German market. Otto is the best choice for logistics, marketing, and customer service.   

How can your brand be part of the Otto marketplace?  

We know that expanding into a new country can come with several complexities, even if it is selling in a marketplace. Here is where we can provide help to your businesses.  

The most suitable way for your brand to sell in this exclusive marketplace is to be part of our Marketplace Partners Solution. We provide brands with tools to expand efficiently into this marketplace, allowing them to succeed. Our solution provides businesses with localized services, such as tax and legal compliance, customer service, warehousing, logistics, and more. We eliminate all the complexities associated with international growth.     

Let us help your brand expand successfully into Europe. Contact us now and open the door to endless opportunities! 

sustainable fashion- trash

Sustainable Fashion Industry in Europe

In recent years, sustainable fashion has become an important topic for brands, the government, and society. The fashion industry dramatically impacts the environment, with its carbon footprint accounting for more than 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. As climate change issues become more visible, current and new, brands in this sector are encouraged to be more transparent with their fabrics, production, disposal, and working conditions.    

Regarding global revenue, Eco-fashion is now a $6.35 billion industry while growing from $1 billion ten years ago. It is also expected to increase to $8.25 billion in 2023. As for the number of sustainable clothing items in 2018 grew by 508%, from 58,144 SKUs in 2016 to 353,817 SKUs in 2018. The world’s leading markets, measured by sold SKUs, are the US, Germany, the UK, France, China, and Italy.   

This growth has to do with younger generations being more aware of fashion brands’ environment and social impact. According to a survey conducted in the UK and Germany by Mckinsey & Company, during the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers began to change their consumption behavior. The main findings were that 57% of 2,000 respondents had made significant lifestyle changes to reduce their environmental impact, and 60% had recycled and purchased products in environmentally friendly packaging. Other vital measures included buying more durable items, keeping items that already have for longer, and repairing items to prolong use. 

As can be seen, there is already a demand for sustainable fashion products, and companies have a job to do in this regard. However, to continue to raise awareness of sustainable practices and take action on this issue, we must first understand what sustainable fashion is, its issues, and its importance.   

Several definitions cover the same elements. Here we present the following three:  

According to the Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, Sustainable fashion consists of local sourcing and production, transparency across the supply chain, traceability of work processes and raw materials, environmentally friendly raw materials, safe working conditions, and fair wages.   

Sustainability in the context of fashion refers to the environmental impact of the production (production, processing, and production of raw materials), the wear and care of (use), and the disposal of clothing (end of use).  

According to several fashion experts, the most accepted definition: Sustainable fashion is an all-encompassing term that includes products, processes, activities, and actors (government, brands, consumers) aiming to achieve a carbon-neutral fashion industry based on equality, social justice, animal welfare, and ecological integrity.   

It is also important to recognize and be aware of the main issues that impact our planet. Bearing in mind that we all play a role, companies and consumers.  

  • Water consumption and contamination: high levels used in the production of clothing and when washing our clothes  
  • Energy emissions: high use of energy in the production of synthetic fabrics and the washing, drying, and ironing of our clothes  
  • Chemical usage: contaminating when using fertilizers and pesticides in the production of raw materials like cotton 
  • Waste creation: High levels of textiles incinerated or sent to landfill 

Why is it important? 

Now that we have set the definition and know the impact of fashion on our planet, we need to understand the importance of sustainable fashion and why we need it.  

Besides environmental issues, as mentioned in the previous definitions, sustainability also has to do with ethical working conditions, such as child labor, fair wages, and safe working space.   

Here we present the top 5 reasons that tackle environmental and working conditions.  

  • Creates Less Waste: By creating long-lasting products, it reduces the amount of waste. This can also be done by recycling and donating clothes.  
  • Ensure Fair Wages & Proper Working Conditions: By prioritizing fair wages and safe working conditions for all employees rather than prioritizing volume of production and spending. 
  • Reduces CO2 & Other Greenhouse Gases Emission: By using biodegradable materials from natural or recycled fabrics, reducing carbon footprint and the amount of energy used and other resources. 
  • Saves Water: By setting policies to have a budget on the use of water for production and prioritizing the use of textiles that require little to no water during the production phase, such as linen, hemp, and organic cotton.  
  • Saves Animal Lives: Using leather and fur alternatives to save animals from exploitation and preserve the ecosystem’s balance.  

Elements to consider as a sustainable fashion brand    

Quality functionality: Fabrics in sustainable clothing should ensure comfort, softness, and non-irritability. They must be durable, easy to clean and take care of.    

 Material: The most critical factor is that materials must be produced using non-chemical treatments. Materials can range from organic to sustainable cellulose.   

Design: Concerning design, it is essential to attract consumers to sustainable clothing. Designers and developers can control over 80% of the environmental impact of a product. Some examples of alternative design techniques that can facilitate recycling and have a lower negative impact on the environment are: 

  • Waterless dying techniques 
  • Digital fabric printing 
  • Use pure fibers 
  • use natural dyes 

 Labeling: In general, the label should cover the following topics: 

  • General care and warnings  
  • Washing  
  • Drying  
  • Ironing  
  • professional textile care or dry-cleaning 

Sustainable fashion brands need to consider the instructions they describe on these topics, as they should encourage consumers to follow them to reduce the negative impact they could have on the planet.    

Packaging: Packaging is not only about considering the impact on the planet but also about being cost-effective to be sustainable for the earth and businesses. Using less packaging and/or biodegradable packing materials, as well as recycling old materials, are actions that should be taken to contribute to sustainability.    

Now, where are the most significant opportunities for US Sustainable fashion brands?  

According to research by us.npeal.com, after reviewing 64 countries to find out where the most green-savvy shoppers live. It has been revealed that the US is the top country for sustainable shopping. North America is second in terms of monthly searchers by continent.   

Number of sustainable fashion searches per continent  

Apart from Europe being the number 1, ten of the top 20 countries worldwide are in Europe. The UK, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and France are in the Top 5.    

Top Ten European Countries for Sustainable Shopping 

In Europe, environmental concerns and commitment to more sustainable lifestyles are more widespread among consumers, retailers, businesses, government, and non-governmental organizations. As a result, Europe is one of the most exciting markets in the world for sustainable apparel. In most EU countries, consumers, as mentioned above, are interested in sustainable fashion brands and expect companies to be responsible for social and environmental issues. The most trending topics around sustainable apparel include consumer education, fashion sharing, vegan clothing, transparency, standardization, and natural dyes.  

Germany is one of the markets with immense potential for sustainable US brands. This market is not only more conscious of sustainable products, but also 90% of the clothes Germans buy are from non-EU countries, and the US is a significant trade partner. In terms of sustainable fashion, spending on fair-trade textiles increased by 66% (129 million euros) in 2017 over 2016.   

Which measures has the EU taken to promote sustainable fashion?   

In recent years, the EU has imposed more policies on several industries to reduce its negative impact on the planet. Some measures the EU has taken include cutting back on the production and use of plastic products, increasing the production of electric cars, finding new ways to produce energy, and reducing the use of energy and water. Now is the time to develop new policies to promote sustainability within the fashion industry.  

Recently, the EU has unveiled a proposal to increase sustainability and reduce the consumption of fast-fashion products. This decision was made because clothing accounts for 81% of EU textile consumption, and fast-fashion products have built a culture of “take, make, break and throw away,” contributing to unsustainable practices and taking its toll on the environment. 

Under the new rules proposed by the European Union, products must be longer-lasting and easier to repair. Products sold in the EU would be developed on a sustainability scale, demonstrating their environmental impact, durability, and ease of repair. This initiative aims to boost the market for sustainable textiles and prevent companies from misleading consumers with false environmental claims or greenwashing. 

Under this strategy, manufacturers must ensure their clothes are environmentally friendly and hard-wearing. To contribute to this initiative, consumers will also receive more helpful information on how to reuse, repair, and recycle their clothes.   

Government support for continued growing demand and increased growth give US sustainable fashion brands a higher chance of entering the EU and having a fair chance of success within this industry. This is a good time for US sustainable brands to become part of this growing sector, as it is new and still underdeveloped, so there is room for learning and improvements to penetrate the EU market. 

What best way to expand into Europe as a US sustainable fashion brand?   

There are 27 countries within the EU, and it can be complex to simultaneously serve many countries with diverse cultures and languages. Germany is, therefore, the best market for US sustainable fashion brands to enter the European market. As already mentioned, the market is already interested in environmentally friendly products and recycling and is one of the largest markets in the EU.   

Fashion is the number one category sold online in Germany. Therefore, the best way to enter the EU market and start selling is through the most popular German fashion marketplaces. Three of the best marketplaces in the fashion segment in Germany’s top 10 are Otto, Zalando and Aboutyou. 

These fashion marketplaces are not only the best in this segment but also the best for sustainable fashion brands. They are interested and committed to contributing to sustainability and taking measures to be part of the solution in reducing the fashion industry’s impact on the planet. 

OTTO  

The Otto Group is Germany’s biggest fashion and lifestyle marketplace, with more than €11 billion in online sales and over 3,400 brands.   

Otto is committed to sustainability and has taken measures to reduce its impact on the planet. Some measures include searching for alternative packaging, such as 100% recyclable polybags, recycling bags, and recycled cardboard. There is also an initiative to encourage consumers to donate by offering free shipping from the consumer’s address to Hermes Parcel Shop and a voting system where consumers can choose their preferred charity institution.   

They also have a code of ethics that brands should follow, which goes along with EU regulations to encourage brands and consumers to improve sustainability. For example, sustainable raw materials like cotton and wood from certified forestry are used.  

About You 

Founded in 2014, it is Europe’s fastest-growing fashion e-tailer and part of the OTTO Group. It is considered a unicorn with more than US$1 billion. Since 2020, About You has expanded to 23 countries in the EU with over 2,000 brands, including exclusive collaboration collections with designers.

 AboutYou strongly supports sustainability, and some actions it has taken are: 

  • The use of eco-friendly boxes and poly mailers 80% recycling material and fewer prints.   
  • Increase transparency through new shop features, which label sustainable products and show all criteria and certificates 
  • Increase the number of sustainable brands and products in their portfolio 
  • Strengthen their sustainability criteria for used materials, processing methods and working conditions
  • Integration & launch of the product category “Second Love” for quality checked second-hand items in the About You Shop that can be purchased with their known customer benefits, such as free shipping and returns  
  • Continuation of the ABOUT YOU Vintage Wardrobe – A space where festival and event visitors can rent second-hand clothing for free and learn more about used garments and the concept of circularity 

Zalando 

Established in 2008, Zalando is the most prominent fashion e-commerce marketplace in Europe. It’s available in 23 countries and sells over 4,500 different brands, with net sales of €8 billion. Zalando is a unique marketplace with a betting process, providing exclusivity and visibility to its brands. 

Zalando has been taking several measures to be part of the solution towards sustainability in terms of the planet, product and people; some of these are:  

  • Source 100% renewable electricity and reduced emissions from our operations 
  • Eliminate by 2023 single-used plastic 
  • Launched the sustainable flag in their Fashion Store to help customers find more sustainable items and tripled their more sustainable fashion assortment 
  • Their private label Zign has been fully dedicated to sustainability since the summer of 2020. 
  • They launched their first Circularity strategy in 2021. 
  • Make it easier for customers to reuse and resell their clothes. 

How can US sustainable fashion brands be part of these Marketplaces?  

Our Marketplace Partners solution allows US fashion businesses to be part of these exclusive marketplaces. We provide brands with tools to expand into these marketplaces efficiently, allowing them to succeed. Our solution provides businesses with localized services, such as tax and legal compliance, customer service, warehousing, logistics, and more. BorderGuru eliminates all complexities that come with international growth.    

Don’t wait anymore. Contact us now and learn how your brand can succeed in the European Market! 

Germany-partner

Germany – The Biggest Online Market in Europe

Country Report – GERMANY

Population & language 

Germany’s population is 84.3 million. It is the most populated nation in the EU. The median age is 47.8, and the official language is German. The country is the biggest economy in the European Union, and the currency is the Euro.  

Economy  

The German economy is the fourth-largest in the world in terms of PPP and Europe’s largest economy. Its GDP accounted for one quarter (24.2%) of the European Union’s GDP in 2020. Its current GDP per capita is $50,900 and purchasing power parity (PPP) is $4. 23 trillion.   

Trading Partners 

Germany is the United States` largest European trading partner and the sixth-largest market for US exports. As for imports to Germany, the US was third place in 2021 after China and the Netherlands, accounting for goods worth €72.1 billion. Imports from the US rose by 13.6%. In December 2021, the surplus was €6.8 billion. 

Digital overview 

The most common domain used in Germany is .de. The total internet users are 78.81 million, accounting for 89.81% of the population.  

The most used device is a smartphone; 81% of Germans owned a smartphone. An interesting fact is that mobile no longer means on the go. 69% of all advertising is displayed via Wi-Fi, and only 23% via a cellular network. This report shows that Germans prefer to look at their phones in the commodity of their homes rather than using a tablet or computer to shop. 

                                                                                                   

In terms of media usage time, people in Germany spend the most time on the internet than on any other medium.  

Common Payment methods  

The most common payment methods used for shopping online in Germany are PayPal, credit card, direct debit, e-wallet, and instant transfer. Having these payment options in your online store ensures a cart abandonment rate of 3%. It is important to consider these options because Germans trust them and are loyal to what works for them, which means that if you don’t offer them, the chances of leaving uncompleted transactions will be higher.  

 

E-commerce Outlook 

E-commerce has been on the rise worldwide, and Germany is no different. In 2020, online sales grew 14.6% compared to 2019, about 83.3 billion euros. The most significant increase was in 2021, which grew 19% over last year, worth 99.1 billion euros. If we account for digital services, the total worth of e-commerce reached 107.1 billion euros. 

In Germany, e-commerce has become the “New Normal,” It was strongly noticeable during the pandemic. Now, post-pandemic, it is still going and getting stronger as it shows that its benefits, a wider variety of products, and better service are what consumers need and want. Currently, the thinking of trading without e-commerce is unimaginable for both consumers and retailers.  

According to a study by RetailX, 85% of Germans shopped online in 2020. Consumers in this country are keener on shopping online rather than offline. The most popular product categories are apparel, consumer media, and electronics. 

As can be seen, there is a great opportunity for US online stores to sell to Germany as e-commerce continues to rise. Germany has an excellent trade partnership with the US, and there is a demand for US products.    

Fashion E-commerce industry 

Fashion is a profitable industry in e-commerce with steady growth. Global sales in 2021 amounted to 759 billion US dollars and are expected to grow by 78 billion US dollars in 2022. As shown in the graph below, this segment continues to rise. The most popular sub-categories are apparel, footwear, and accessories.   

                 

Source: Statista, commonthreadco.com

 The fashion segment is no different in Germany; it is one of the most popular segments in e-commerce. Revenue is expected to reach 38,467 million US dollars in 2022, with an annual growth rate of 11.66% from 2022 to 2025. User penetration will be 58.4% in 2022 and is expected to reach 67.9% by 2025. In 2021, the fashion segment accounted for 24% of the German e-commerce market, with a turnover of $26 billion. In 2021, the largest sub-categories were apparel, which accounts for 66% of sales. Then is footwear with 22%, and the remaining 12% is bags and accessories.   

 

Concerning imported apparel, Germany was the number one import market in the EU in 2020, along with France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, and Poland, with a total import value of 30.2 billion euros, of which 14.3 billion euros came from other EU countries and 15.9 billion euros from non-EU countries.   

The information presented here suggests that US brands have room and an excellent opportunity to sell their products online and have a piece of the pie.   

The largest Online Fashion Marketplaces  

The top marketplaces that offer US brands the opportunity to succeed in the German market are Zalando, Otto, Amazon, Bonprix, and AboutYou. It is worth looking into these marketplaces to see which one or which ones are suitable for your product in terms of the target market, traffic volume, and competition.   

Otto, Zalando and About You are the most suitable for US fashion brands to expand to Germany. The three offer US brands a great opportunity to expand into this country successfully. Once companies have acquired brand awareness and sustainable sales, the chances of success in other marketplaces are higher.   

                                                                     

At BorderGuru, we are part of the Otto Group and offer our Marketplace Partners solution. This solution allows US fashion brands the opportunity to expand into Germany and 26 other countries in Europe by participating in marketplaces such as Otto, Zalando, About You, and many more. This solution offers content localization, tax and legal compliance, logistics and customer service, and much more to facilitate the international expansion process.    

Learn how your brand can benefit from our solution by Booking a Demo and start achieving your international goals.