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Click-and-collect adoption in Germany remains low, but glimpses of growth are emerging

The number of click-and-collect buyers in Germany increased slightly during the pandemic, but not as much as in other Western European countries—and that lag will continue over the next few years. One bright spot, however, is that buyer penetration rates in Germany will steadily rise during that time.

In 2020, 23.4% of Germany's population used click and collect, according to our estimates. By 2024, penetration will grow to 27.7%, but that’s still just a fraction of the penetration seen in the UK, for example.

“Consumers in Germany aren’t as enthusiastic about buying online and picking up in-store as their UK counterparts,” said Cindy Liu, eMarketer director of forecasting at Insider Intelligence. “If given the option, they prefer to have items shipped to their home or to a post office. But the pandemic could have sparked some new interest, especially for those shoppers who turned to online channels for groceries. Because there is an immediacy to those types of purchases, click and collect offers both the safety and convenience of online shopping with the familiarity of physical retail.”

While the pandemic has pushed many consumers to try out click-and-collect options, only a small number of adults in Germany are actually using it. A September 2020 survey from Shopify found that Germany has one of the lowest rates of adoption among all countries surveyed, with just 11% of adults saying they had used in-store or curbside pickup since the beginning of the pandemic.

Similarly, November 2020 research from McKinsey & Company found that only 7% of adults in Germany said they used click-and-collect options more since the pandemic, compared with 14% in France and 11% in the UK.

Adoption may be low in Germany in comparison with other markets because only a select number of German retailers have rolled out this feature, while others are in just the early stages. For example, Lidl, one of Germany’s main discount grocery chains, began testing click and collect in 2019. And DM, a drugstore retailer in the country, rolled out its click-and-collect services nationwide in April 2020, following a short test phase in Munich.

"As more retailers begin to launch these services, more consumers will start to test them out—and some will become comfortable adding them to their shopping routines," Liu said. "We estimate that Germany saw a 10.0% increase in those using click and collect at least once per year in 2020, and we expect further growth of 6.7% in 2021."