The economic powerhouse of the European Union, the Federal Republic of Germany serves as an attractive market for imported goods sold by suppliers around the globe.
The 100 most valuable consumer products imported into Germany attracted a subtotal US$486.7 billion worth of spending on international goods in 2020. That consumer-specific dollar amount represents 41.5% of the overall value of all goods imported into Germany, a massive $1.172 trillion worth of spending.
The 5 most valuable consumer products imported into Germany during 2020 were cars, medications, automobile parts or accessories, computers and phones.
The total dollar amount for the top 100 imported consumer products from the nation also known as Deutschland declined by -1.6% from 2019 to 2020. The top 100 consumer metric compares to a -5.2% drop for all of Germany’s imported goods for the year.
Germany’s purchases of imported products, both overall and for consumer goods, dropped at a slower pace than the global average decline of -8.2% from 2019 to 2020 for all importing countries.
Among the top 100 consumer products imported by Germany, 47 increased in total value from 2019 to 2020 whereas 53 declined.
Changes in German consumer demand for essential imports offer future opportunities for international suppliers who correctly anticipate which upward or downward trends will continue.
Consumer Products Defined
Economics educator BoyceWire defines a consumer product as a final good or end product that a business creates for consumers to buy. For example, consumers often purchase refined petroleum oil at the gas station while imported crude oil is an intermediate good subject to further processing before being sold to end users.
Although there may be a few wealthy individual buyers, products like turbojets are excluded from the consumer products targeted by this study. That is because turbojets are usually purchased by corporations. In contrast, it is common for a consumer to buy a motorcycle.
Types of Consumer Products
This article focuses on 3 distinct consumer product types.
Convenience Products are easy to access, non-durable, have relatively lower prices and therefore consumers frequently purchase them. Examples of convenience products are food, alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks, and soap.
Shopping Products are not as easily available, involve more time to make a buying decision, are durable and are not bought as often as most convenience products. A great example of a shopping product is a mobile phone where buying the wrong model is a much more expensive mistake than buying a disappointing loaf of bread.
Specialty Products describe another consumer product type. This grey area includes infrequently purchased, expensive, durable and sometimes rare items. Consumers may consider the product’s brand image when making their purchase decisions. Some examples of speciality products are gold, silver, diamonds, jewelry, and branded refrigerators and dishwashers.
German Consumer Imports Smart List
The searchable marketing intelligence table below showcases Germany’s 100 highest-value imported consumer products in descending order. Items were selected at the four-digit Harmonized System tariff classification code level.
The table’s fourth column is labeled YOY for year over year. The fifth column identifies each entry’s consumer product type.
|4||Computers, optical readers||$27,312,463,000||+11.7%||SP|
|6||Processed petroleum oils||$15,007,389,000||-38.6%||CP|
|9||Miscellaneous textile items||$8,218,126,000||+549.7%||SP|
|10||Electric storage batteries||$8,062,338,000||+45.6%||SY|
|12||Electrical converters/power units||$7,732,271,000||+10.7%||SP|
|13||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$7,677,090,000||-5.2%||SP|
|14||Seats (not barber/dentist chairs)||$7,469,046,000||-5.8%||SY|
|17||Miscellaneous plastic items||$6,252,392,000||-0.6%||CP|
|18||Rubber tires (new)||$5,944,491,000||-9.9%||SY|
|19||Computer parts, accessories||$5,556,382,000||+6%||SP|
|22||Electric water heaters, hair dryers||$4,745,169,000||+9%||SY|
|24||Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)||$4,566,897,000||-3.3%||SP|
|26||Women's clothing (not knit/crochet)||$4,462,353,000||-9.2%||SP|
|27||Men's suits (unknit/non-crochet)||$4,221,768,000||-11.8%||SP|
|28||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$4,046,965,000||-11.9%||SP|
|30||T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)||$3,884,098,000||-6.2%||SP|
|31||Coins excluding legal tender||$3,714,144,000||+64.9%||SP|
|32||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$3,705,020,000||-2%||CP|
|34||Screws, bolts, washers, hooks, pins||$3,512,606,000||-13.7%||SP|
|36||Models, puzzles, miscellaneous toys||$3,396,572,000||+1.5%||SP|
|37||Cases, handbags, wallets||$3,154,252,000||-16.1%||SP|
|39||Women's clothing (knit or crochet)||$3,007,224,000||+0.8%||SP|
|41||Unrecorded sound media||$2,802,340,000||-10.6%||SP|
|42||Video console games, table games||$2,787,790,000||+5.2%||SP|
|43||Vulcanized rubber items||$2,766,628,000||-10.8%||CP|
|44||Household base metal mountings||$2,754,002,000||-1.1%||SY|
|45||Coal, solid fuels made from coal||$2,715,612,000||-40.9%||CP|
|47||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$2,676,728,000||+4.7%||CP|
|50||Other organic cleaning preparations||$2,448,470,000||-3.6%||CP|
|51||Chocolate, other cocoa preparations||$2,393,157,000||-1.6%||CP|
|55||Footwear (rubber or plastic)||$2,249,791,000||-7.9%||SP|
|58||Other food preparations||$2,066,289,000||+11.5%||CP|
|59||Other fresh/chilled vegetables||$1,992,470,000||+12%||CP|
|60||Interchangeable hand/machine tools||$1,960,855,000||-12.5%||SY|
|61||Women's coats (unknit/non-crochet)||$1,928,535,000||-6.5%||SP|
|62||Hot-rolled iron/non-alloy steel items||$1,903,087,000||-30.2%||SP|
|63||Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines||$1,880,259,000||+1.4%||SY|
|64||Fresh or chilled beef||$1,786,825,000||-5.6%||CP|
|67||Fish fillets, pieces||$1,707,812,000||-5.2%||CP|
|69||Packaged insecticides, herbicides||$1,690,546,000||+4%||SP|
|73||Paper containers, cellulose wadding||$1,573,791,000||-0.5%||SP|
|74||Miscellaneous fruits (fresh)||$1,569,092,000||+9.6%||CP|
|75||Fresh or dried citrus fruit||$1,561,803,000||+32.3%||CP|
|78||Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)||$1,514,444,000||-8.2%||CP|
|80||Felt or other non-woven garments||$1,503,247,000||+72.2%||SP|
|81||Wrist/pocket watches (regular case)||$1,480,407,000||+2%||SP|
|83||Printed books, brochures||$1,452,905,000||+6%||SP|
|84||Miscellaneous preserved fruits||$1,446,208,000||+11.1%||CP|
|85||Uncoated paper for writing/printing||$1,427,205,000||-10.3%||CP|
|86||Waters with added sugar||$1,414,684,000||+5.3%||CP|
|88||Miscellaneous live plants||$1,411,163,000||+1%||CP|
|89||Fruit and vegetable juices||$1,359,661,000||-3.7%||CP|
|90||Miscellaneous aluminum items||$1,308,638,000||-14.6%||SP|
|91||Perfumes, toilet waters||$1,300,914,000||-25%||CP|
|93||Fish, caviar (preserved/prepared)||$1,235,207,000||+17.3%||CP|
|95||Hand-drawn paintings, drawings||$1,197,843,000||+190.8%||SY|
|98||Men's coats (unknit/non-crochet)||$1,165,234,000||-5.9%||SP|
|99||Other pharmaceutical preparations||$1,160,044,000||+0.7%||SP|
|100||Plastic wares (table, kitchen, toiletry)||$1,124,772,000||+7.3%||CP|
The most popular product type is shopping products (SP) led by imported cars, automobile parts or accessories, computers, phones including smartphones, insulated wire or cable and miscellaneous textile items. Shopping products represent 44 of Germany’s top 100 imported consumer goods.
In second place via 37 items are convenience products (CP). Examples include medications, processed petroleum oils, cheese, plastic packing goods like lids and caps, coffee and wine.
There were 19 speciality products (SY) ranking among the top 100. Major speciality products imported into Germany include gold, coins excluding legal tender, liquid pumps, temperature-change machines, and beauty, makeup and skin care products.
Durable consumer products are goods like cars, trucks, printing machinery, insulated wire or cable, and furniture that last a relatively long time. Consumers can put durable products to use again and again. By product type, note that both shopping products and speciality products are considered as durable consumer goods.
Non-durable consumer products (ND) are goods that are not re-used once consumed. Coal, medications and sugar are examples of non-durable goods. Convenience products are uniquely non-durable consumer products.
Based on the product types identified in the above table, 63 of Germany’s highest-value consumer imported products are durable while 37 are classified as non-durable.
Using the provided table, you can also peruse the greatest increases or decreases in product values from 2019 to 2020. To do so, click on the heading of the fourth column.
Fastest-Growing Consumer Imports
Listed below are the top 10 consumer products imported into Germany that experienced the highest percentage increases in spending from 2019 to 2020.
- Miscellaneous textile items: Up 549.7% ($8.2 billion)
- Hand-drawn paintings and drawings: Up 190.8% ($1.2 billion)
- Gold: Up 86.3% ($8.2 billion)
- Felt or other non-woven garments: Up 72.2% ($1.5 billion)
- Coins excluding legal tender: Up 64.9% ($3.7 billion)
- Electric storage batteries: Up 45.6% ($8.1 billion)
- Fresh or dried citrus fruit: Up 32.3% ($1.6 billion)
- Cigars, cigarellos and cigarettes: Up 18.1% ($1.7 billion)
- Preserved or prepared fish including caviar: Up 17.3% ($1.2 billion)
- Electromechanic appliances: Up 14.3% ($1.5 billion)
Among the above top 10 gainers, 7 qualify as durable goods that consumers can re-use over time. Five of those durable items are speciality products including hand-drawn paintings or drawings, gold and coins excluding legal tender. The 2 fastest-growing shopping products are miscellaneous textile items and felt or non-woven garments which also satisfy the technical definition for durable goods.
The fastest-growing convenience products are fresh or dried citrus fruits; cigars, cigarellos and cigarettes; and preserved or prepared fish including caviar. Consumers consider these items as non-durable products, commonly referred to as disposable goods that normally are used only once.
Worst-Declining Consumer Imports
Spending by buyers in Germany on the following 10 items decreased in value at the severest rate from 2019 to 2020.
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: Down -40.9% ($2.7 billion)
- Processed petroleum oils: Down -38.6% ($15 billion)
- Items made from hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel: Down -30.2% ($1.9 billion)
- Perfumes, toilet waters: Down -25% ($1.3 billion)
- Tractors: Down -18.5% ($2.5 billion)
- Automobile parts or accessories: Down -17% ($32.9 billion)
- Cases, handbags, wallets: Down -16.1% ($3.2 billion)
- Beauty/makeup/skin care: Down -16% ($2.2 billion)
- Miscellaneous aluminum items: Down -14.6% ($1.3 billion)
- Screws, bolts, washers, hooks, pins: Down -13.7% ($3.5 billion)
Three among Germany’s top 10 declining imports are non-durable convenience products consumed one time. These are the fuel items coal and processed petroleum oils, plus the perfumes and toilet waters product category.
Six among the remaining major import decliners are shopping products that normally require more time for consumers to make buying decisions. Purchases under the shopping products category are more likely to be deferred than convenience products. Examples of these shopping goods range from cases, handbags and wallets to automobile parts or accessories.
The lone speciality product category among the severest decliners was beauty, makeup and skincare, items that typically are characterized by a strong brand name loyalty.
Key Suppliers by Country
This analysis reveals competitive suppliers that target German demand for its top 5 consumer import products.
For Germany, the biggest imported consumer product by value is cars. The 4 other leading consumer products imported into Germany are medications, automobile parts or accessories, computers, and phones including smartphones.
Below, you will find major supplying countries for Germany’s imported:
Cars: Spain (13.3% of total), United States (10.6%), Czech Republic (9.5%), Slovakia (8.3%), France (6.6%), Hungary (6.6%), Mexico (6.2%), Italy (4.7%), United Kingdom (4.3%) and South Africa (3.9%).
Medications: Switzerland (15.5% of total), United States (12.3%), Netherlands (11.3%), Ireland (11.1%), France (7.34%), United Kingdom (6.4%), Italy (6.3414%), Spain (4.6%), Singapore (4.1%) and Belgium (2.9%).
Automobile parts or accessories: Czech Republic (13.4% of total), Poland (12.1%), France (8.4%), Romania (7.4%), Austria (7.3%), Hungary (7.3%), Italy (7%), Slovakia (6%), Spain (4.3%) and China (3.8%).
Computers: China (56% of total), Netherlands (6.1%), Czech Republic (5.7%), Poland (4.1%), Taiwan (3.3%), United States (3%), South Korea (2.5%), Ireland (2.4%), Thailand (2.2%) and United Kingdom (1.9%).
Phones: China (51.9% of total), Vietnam (9.2%), Netherlands (5.5%), Czech Republic (4.3%), Poland (3.5%), United Kingdom (3%), United States (2.4%), Taiwan (2.1%), Hungary (2%) and South Korea (1.5%).
More great research: Germany’s Main Imports by Top Supplier Countries, Netherlands Main Imports by Top Supplier Countries, China’s Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, US Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, Japan’s Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, Philippines Top 100 Imported Consumer Products
Independent insights and analysis presented in this article are based on researched facts and statistics sourced from the following educational portals.
BoyceWire, Consumer Goods Definition.
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook: Germany Economy.
International Trade Centre, Trade Map.
Richest Country Reports, Top 100 Richest Countries by GDP.
Trading Economics, Germany Consumer Spending.
Wikipedia, List of largest consumer markets.
World’s Top Exports, Germany’s Top 10 Imports.