German goods import channels

German goods import channels

Imported goods can reach the German market through a variety of channels depending on the type of product, financial considerations as well as other factors such as market size, demand and sales potential in the long-term…

Below are some popular channels for importing foreign goods into Germany:

  • Through a commercial presence in Germany:

Foreign companies establishing commercial presences (establishing foreign-invested enterprises, business cooperation contracts, establishing branches, representative offices, etc.) in Germany to carry out the importation, distribute to agents/stores, or sell directly to consumers. This is an effective way to access a market, but it is only suitable for companies that export in large quantities and want to develop in the long-term in the German market. The reason is that the establishment of a commercial presence requires more capital investment than other forms, the establishment procedure also takes more time and costs.

  • Through import partners in Germany:

Importing partners can be purchasers for their own use (industrial equipment; raw materials for production…) or commercial importers.

German importers are mainly wholesalers, distributors, or intermediaries who import goods for redistribution (e.g. to stores, shops, supermarkets). Goods imported through these importers are usually small machinery and equipment, common industrial supplies and consumer goods). This is the main form of import to the German market.

  • Through online shopping channels:

Foreign suppliers can also sell goods directly to buyers in Germany through e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, eBay, etc. This form has become more and more popular in Germany to purchase international goods, however, this form is only applicable to consumer products.

In summary, German import and distribution channels are quite diverse with many options. Therefore, when exporting goods to the German market, Vietnamese exporters should consider carefully all relevant factors to choose the most appropriate import and distribution channels for their products

Source: "Business Handbook: Exploiting the EVFTA  to import and export goods between Vietnam and Germany" - Center for WTO and International Trade