Continued growth in Mail Order Trade
Increasing internet turnover gives traders a boost

German mail order traders achieved a 1.7% rise in turnover in 2000. Turnover for this sector has now reached 41.5 billion DM compared to 40.9 billion in 1999. These figures were released by the German Association of Mail Order Traders (BVH) at its annual press conference in Frankfurt. General retail mail order traders have particularly strengthened their position; after several poor years they have now managed a second consecutive rise of 1.1%. Also successful are the specialized catalogue traders. Following an increase of 0.9% in 1999 they have achieved an increase of 4.4% in 2000. "Even if the figures for the first half year promised even more, we can be generally satisfied: mail order trade last grew at this rate seven years ago," explained the President of the BVH, Klaus Wirth. At the half-way stage mail order companies were showing a plus of 4.5% before the consumer environment deteriorated. The rise in environment tax and the drastic rise in oil prices reduced consumer spending, which naturally had implications for the mail order trade.

The reason turnover still managed to increase is attributed by the traders to the fast developing internet business. While retail shoppers spend only 0.5% of their budget in the virtual High Street, this figure is considerably higher in mail order. BVH's members generated an online turnover in 2000 of 2.1 billion DM, the equivalent of 5.3% of the whole trade turnover. Wirth explains these excellent figures like this:"On the internet we acquire new buyers and are continuously improving the way we address our customers." The basis for this success is the traders' well-functioning supply chain management. Online orders are fed into the same processing channels as catalogue orders by telephone, fax or mail. The structures are already in place - from the customer order, service, warehousing and transport logistics down to after sales activities. "The internet is thus a boon to us," commented the BVH President. Especially, he went on, by means of combining online and offline activities. "We offer the individual customers the channel they prefer to use."

Retail trade this year will be affected by legal changes, since the laws regulating competition and bonus payments are being scrapped. For years the German trade economy has been characterised by intense competition which has left little room in reducing the already minimal profit margins. "Mail order traders cannot and will not get embroiled in a discount war," Wirth emphasized. He announced that the mail order firms would continue their tried and trusted strategy of competing on service and not on price, whilst maintaining low and transparent price levels.

For the year 2001 the members of the BVH expect a friendly consumer climate and a rise in turnover of 2.2%. General retail mail order expects +1.5% and the specialists as much as 5.8%.

Dateien zum Download:
presse_07_03_01_englisch.pdf (7.5 kb)

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