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In 2012 the interactive online and mail order sector achieved record growth. The sector’s growth of 15.6% compared to 2011 was much higher than in previous years. Overall the sector achieved sales of EUR 39.3 billion in Germany in 2012 and its share of the retail market rose to a new high of 9.2% (previous year: 8.2%).

In particular the online business recorded rapid growth, with the e-commerce sector’s sales growing from EUR 5.9 billion in 2011 to EUR 27.6 billion in 2012. The internet was dominant order media. E-commerce’s share of the mail order market climbed from 63.8% in the previous year to 70.2%.

Among the product categories, clothing led the way again in 2012 with sales revenue of EUR 10.78 billion, which represented an increase of 11% compared to the previous year. It was followed by consumer electronics and electronic products. According to the German E-Commerce and Distance Selling Trade Association (bvh), consumer electronics and electronic products generated sales of around EUR 4.08 billion in 2012 (2011: EUR 3.27 billion), an increase of 25% compared to 2011.

Digital services such as tickets for events, travel and entertainment grew by around 21% to EUR 9.7 billion in 2012.

Customers spent a total of EUR 37.3 billion over the internet in 2012. This represents an overall increase of around 25% for online and digital goods compared to 2011.

According to the bvh, the e-commerce sector will continue to grow in 2013; it currently expects sales in the online market to grow by 21.3% to EUR 33.5 billion.

The market relevant for the Group, the smartphone and tablet market, is also recording enormous growth rates. Smartphone sales in Germany rose to 23 million units in 2012 according to the industry association BITKOM. This represents an increase of 43% compared to the previous year. The strong trend towards high-value multi-functional devices is expected to continue in the next few years. The tablet PC segment is also buoyant. According to BITKOM, the German market for tablet computers grew in the past year by almost 84% to EUR 2.1 billion. BITKOM expects, based on the latest forecasts by the market research institute EITO for 2013, that sales of tablet computers will exceed five million this year.