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Internet

German e-commerce sector rapidly expanding

German retailers feel increasingly squeezed by expanding business on the Internet, as one out of ten purchases is already done via e-commerce platforms. Growth is set to accelerate as mobile technology is spreading.

In 2012, online shopping in Germany grew by 27 percent to reach a total volume of 27.6 billion euros ($37 billion), according to latest figures released by German mail order lobby group BVH on Tuesday.

This figure didn't even include sales of flight and train tickets, as well as tickets for holiday trips and cultural events, which added another 9.7 billion euros, BVH said.

"E-commerce has become everyday business for German consumers," said BVH President Thomas Lipke, adding that 9.2 percent of Germany's overall retail trade last year was done via the internet - a figure that increased to 14 percent if food and services were counted out.

BVH data showed that global e-commerce giant Amazon garnered the biggest business in Germany last year with sales to the tune of 6.8 billion euros. The US-based company was followed by German mail order firm Otto with online revenues of 3.4 billion euros.

Clothing made up the biggest chunk of Internet sales with revenue of more than 11 billion euros. Consumer electronics and books came in second and third place with sales worth 4 and 2.6 billion euros respectively.

Last year's growth was boosted by the increasing use of mobile technologies such as smartphones and tablets in Germany, and helped by e-commerce marketing in social media networks such as Facebook.

BVH lobby group said German e-commerce businesses were looking confidently into 2013, expecting sales of more than 33 billion euros - another 21-percent bump.

uhe/msh (dpa, Reuters)