SMEs in Germany have deepened their online footprint during the Covid-19 crisis. At the height of the outbreak from March to May 2020, independent Selling Partners accounted for around two-thirds of sales on (65.1%) as new data shows. This is an increase of their share of sales by nearly 4 percentage points compared to the average of the same period in 2019 (61.2%). The worldwide share of physical gross merchandise sales sold on Amazon by independent third-party sellers was indicated with 58% in 2018 – as opposed to Amazon retail’s own first party sales.

The bulk of the latest increase in Germany was realized by Selling Partners that already had been active on Amazon before. “Every product a small or medium-sized enterprise could sell online during the crisis helped to keep its business alive and safe jobs. We see our role as enabling SMEs to succeed digitally – and we believe that variety in commerce is paramount to customer satisfaction”, says Dr. Markus Schöberl, Director Seller Services at Amazon Germany. “Year after year, the role of Selling Partners has become more important. Our success is deeply tied to theirs.” This point was especially proven true during the Covid-19 crisis.

Although Selling Partner success was well evident before, the latest data shows more than ever how valuable the partnership is for both sides:

  • Around 3,500 companies in Germany generated sales of more than one million US dollars, an increase of over 5% in comparison to 2018.
  • Around 6,000 independent third-party sellers generated more than 500,000 US dollars in sales.
  • Around 15,000 partners generated more than 100,000 US dollars.

SMEs from Germany exported products worth more than 2.5 billion Euros through Amazon in 2018. This is an increase of almost 20% over the previous year.

Today, Selling Partners are outperforming Amazon own retail´s sales. Amazon began as a retailer, but opened its store to third-party sellers in 2001 to offer customers greater selection and competitive prices. Since then, Selling Partners have been an integral part of Amazon’s DNA – they have grown worldwide from zero to more than half of physical gross merchandise sales, and continue to grow faster than Amazon’s own sales. “We invest heavily to help Selling Partners accelerate their businesses. And we work hard to make Amazon a great place for brands”, says Markus Schöberl.

Last year, Amazon invested more than 15 million US dollars in tools, infrastructure, personnel, services and programs that help Selling Partners become even more successful. During the Covid-19 crisis, Amazon additionally supported them with frequent guidance, webinars and by calling on customers to buy from SMEs online.

Examples of successful Selling Partners during the crisis span across a range of products. Hut Breiter, an over 155-year-old hat manufacturer in Munich, saw its store closed for weeks – but could save its business online. Christine Schmandt, founder of Mummelito, who in normally produces fashion for kids and mothers, temporarily made face masks. “The demand overwhelmed us”, she says. Also, the bike and outdoor business Pentagon Sports from Baden-Württemberg profited from its Amazon store – and helped customers stay active outdoors while gyms remained closed.