German SEO and Internet Marketing

Germany is the largest economy and the second most populous nation in Europe. According to the IMF’s World Economic Outlook Database dated September 2006, Germany’s GDP at current prices for 2006 is estimated at US $ 2,890.1 billion, a growth of 3.5 % over 2005 estimates. Importantly as well, Germany is now one of the world’s premier information and communications technology markets. According to latest data from Nielsen Net Ratings, the total number of German internet users aggregated nearly 50 million in March 2006, a growth of around 7.5% since 2004 estimates, and representing a majority 60% of the nation’s population. B2B and B2C online marketers who create professional website translations along with effective multilingual SEO platforms stand to benefit strongly from the intensive use of the web by German speakers.

* Source: WDR Estimates, IDC, 2002

** Source: ITU (International Telecommunication Union) Data, 2000

Germany’s was ranked 21st in the world with regard to broadband access per capita for 2006, which stood at 10.2 per 100 people (with a weighted average of 13 per 100), with the total number of broadband users numbering 8,411,000. Boasting of one the world’s most technologically advanced telecommunication systems, Germany’s mobile cellular and fixed landline phone subscribers also stood at 858 and 660 (per 1,000) respectively in 2004, according to the April 2006 World Bank Development Indicators Database, which also estimated the German Personal Computers (PC) penetration (per 1,000 users) to be at 440 for the same year. 

With regard to the most popular German search engines, http://www.google.de continued to reign supreme with more than 86% hits, with others like http://www.yahoo.de, http://www.search.msn.de, http://www.suche.aol.de, http://www.t-online.de, http://www.lycos.de, http://www.altavista.de, http://www.web.de and http://www.fireball.de also popular. The top-4 Google powered websites in Germany, according to a 2002 estimate include (in that order): http://www.web.de, http://www.yahoo.de, www.aol.de and www.netscape.de. EIAA’s ‘Europe Online’ Report of August 2006 also states that Germany’s most frequently visited websites are those for auctions, news and price comparisons.

According to a 2006 Merrill Lynch report, Germany’s credit card penetration remained low at 250 per 1,000 by the end of 2005.This was due to an increased usage of debit cards, since credit card merchant costs were high. According to Euromonitor International estimates for the same year, the German market for Credit and Charge cards grew by 4.9% over 2003 to reach a value of €43.5 billion (US$53.7 billion) in 2004. The major credit and charge card operators in Germany are Visa, MasterCard and American Express, with MasterCard centralizing its operations after acquiring Europay in June 2001. Euromonitor also forecasts the market for Credit and Charge cards to grow in single digits over a small base by 23.3% from 2004 to 2009, to reach a value of €56,477 million (US$69,724 million). 

Currently accounting for around one third of all European E-commerce transactions (including B2B and B2C ones), the Germans have also been amongst the biggest web buyers, making up an estimated 8.6 million in 2002-2003, according to WDR, IDC estimates. The total E-commerce for Germany in 2002 was US $ 62.8 billion, growing by 147% over 1998 estimates of US $ 1.7 billion, and constituting roughly 3% of GDP estimates for that year. MINTEL’s June 2006 dated Internet Quarterly Report states Germany’s 2005 on-line retail B2C sales to be € 9.71 billion (US $12.08 billion), contributing 24% to overall Europe sales, which could grow by 93% to reach € 18.74 billion (US $ 22.31 billion) by 2010. Over the forecast period, the growth in overall German E-commerce is also projected to continue in double digits to reach US $ 108 billion in 2008, driven by the reinvention of its unique mail order culture, widespread B2C trade, rapidly rising internet penetration, increased number of innovation-friendly SMEs to facilitate B2B transactions, and easier, cheaper and faster broadband access, though significantly higher per capita expenditure through traditional shopping outlets, and higher sales tax rates, would continue to be bottlenecks.

Reference Sources/Further Readings:

1. IMF World Economic Outlook Database, September 2006

2. The World Bank Group - World Development Indicators Database, April 2006

3. http://nationmaster.com

4. http://www.webmasterworld.com

5. http://www.webhits.de

6. http://www.internetworldstats.com/nielsen-netratings.com

7. http://www.euromonitor.com

8. http://www.cia.gov

9. Germany’s Technology Performance Report 2005

10. EIAA (Europe Interactive Online Association) Europe Online Report, August 2006

11. MINTEL - Internet Quarterly Report, June 2006

12. http://www.devinix.com