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Fashion ranking: Top 20 clothing retailers in Germany

Fashion is a significant industry in Germany, especially in the realm of e-commerce. The fashion e-commerce market was predicted to reach US$87,445m in 2020. This article aims to update the rankings of the top clothing retailers in Germany, based on the latest data from 2021 and other sources.

The most popular clothing retailers 

C&A ranked first in Germany for clothing and textiles in 2021. In fact, 32.4% of consumers have shopped at C&A. H&M and Peek & Cloppenburg were also leading retailers in this category..

Changes in 2018-2021 compared to years 2016-2019

The Fall of New Yorker: From Top 5 to 8th Place!

New Yorker has slipped from its once-coveted top 5 position down to 8th place. This shift could be a sign of increased competition or evolving consumer tastes. While still a strong contender, New Yorker will need to innovate to reclaim its higher ranking.

Ernisting’s Family Crashes the Top 5 Party!

Ernisting’s Family has impressively broken into the top 5, signaling its growing appeal among German consumers. This rise could be due to a variety of factors, such as an expanded product line, savvy marketing, or superior customer service. The brand’s new top-tier status shows it’s a force to be reckoned with.

Primark’s Slippery Slope: Losing Ground in the Rankings

Primark, once a dominant player, has lost a few spots in the rankings. This decline could be attributed to several factors, including stiff competition and changing consumer preferences. To regain its former glory, Primark will need to rethink its market strategies.

TK Maxx Makes a Splash: The New Kid on the Ranking Block!

TK Maxx has debuted in the rankings, indicating its burgeoning influence in the German fashion retail scene. Whether it’s due to successful marketing initiatives, a unique product range, or a mix of both, TK Maxx is definitely a brand to keep an eye on.

The Rise of the Underdogs: “Other Clothing Stores” Surge in Popularity

The “Other Clothing Stores” category has seen a significant uptick in popularity. This could reflect a growing consumer interest in niche or local brands, or even sustainable fashion options. The rise of this category suggests that the German fashion market is diversifying, with consumers looking beyond the mainstream.

Sustainability For The Win: Again

Or maybe, as we are looking at the last category Didn’t buy in clothing stores, it could also mean that German customers are getting more eco-friendly and start choosing vintage stores or second hands as their go-to in the case of clothes.

2023 Fashion Retail in Germany: What You Didn’t Know

#1 That’s All About Textile Manufacturing

A huge industry in Germany and around the world is textile manufacturing, which produces and sells clothing. Textiles include a variety of items, not just clothing: uniforms for certain types of work, sportswear, home furnishings, bedding.

In Germany, C&A consistently recorded the highest customer numbers. Their production is also outsourced, as is the case with most textile retailers. Brazil, China, and Bangladesh are the most common suppliers.

#2 Buying Clothes Trends is Hard to Tackle

In the last decade, German household spending on clothing has steadily increased. For 2022, revenue for the textile and clothing industry in Germany was forecast to amount to 13 billion euros.


But then, Germany comes with a relatively low amount spent per person on clothing/retail:

#3 The Rise of Online Retail

The fashion industry in Germany has been undergoing a significant transformation, especially with the rise of online retail. According to a study by KPMG, by 2030, online fashion retailers are expected to have the same market share as high-street fashion stores. This shift towards online retail has been gradual but consistent, indicating that e-commerce will play an increasingly vital role in the fashion landscape.

#4 Brick-and-Mortar Challenges

The traditional brick-and-mortar fashion retailers have been facing challenges, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The BTE Textile Trade Association has forecasted a 30% loss of revenue for these retailers. The industry experts predict an area reduction of about 50-70% for retail spaces, affecting department stores and multi-story formats the most. Despite these challenges, a majority of consumers still prefer to shop in physical stores, emphasizing the need for a balanced retail strategy.

#5 Sustainability and Second-hand Fashion

Sustainability is becoming a key focus in the German fashion industry. About 34% of consumers are already buying used clothing, and another 28% are considering doing so. The trend towards second-hand clothing could capture up to 20% of the market share over the next decade. This shift aligns with the global focus on sustainability and ethical fashion.

#6 The Future: Circular Economy and Megatrends

Looking ahead, the circular economy is expected to play a significant role in the fashion industry. The study outlines scenario analyses based on five megatrends for the fashion industry, emphasizing the need for adaptability and forward-thinking strategies.

#7 The Competitive Landscape is Getting Even More Competitive

The German fashion industry is experiencing a shake-up with the entry of new players like Shein and Temu. These Chinese low-cost fashion groups are planning to expand their presence in the German market, posing a potential threat to established online retailers like Zalando. According to a report, Zalando’s shares fell to their lowest level since mid-July 2023, dropping by 0.8% to 27.40 euros, amid concerns about increased competition from these emerging brands.

#8 Gen Z on fashion shopping spree

According to a 2021 survey, the intention to permanently switch to online apparel shopping in Germany was highest among Gen Z consumers, with 17 percent of digital shoppers in this category stating so. Among millennials and Gen X surveyed, about 15 percent of each group said they planned to maintain this shopping habit in the future. Meanwhile, eight percent of Boomers said the same.

What about German stores popular worldwide?

One of the most famous German brands is the high fashion one – Hugo Boss. Year by year, it is getting more reliable buyers, and thus the brand is making more money. In last year Hugo Boss revenues reached 2.88 bn EUR. It was the highest amount since the begging of this century. The market value of this market (only in Europe) is 8.58 bn USD. These numbers are enormous, and this is one of the best proof of Hugo Boss’s success. 

Adidas is another German brand that became a worldwide success. It is a company best known for sports footwear (it produces over 400 m of pairs annually), but it provides many more items – sports clothing and accessories such as balls or exercise mats. Currently, the Adidas brand’s revenue stands at the level of 15.14 bn USD. And that is a result of just the footwear market. 

To wrap up

Below, you can find a tab that presents the top 20 brands in Germany. 

BrandWebsite addressCountry
Peek & Cloppenburg
New Yorker
Ernsting’s family
Adler Republic
Gerry Weber
Tom Tailor
Vero Moda
TK Maxx
Street One

The Road Ahead

The German fashion industry is at a crossroads, with traditional retailers facing challenges from new, agile competitors. The success of these new entrants will depend on their ability to understand the German market’s nuances and adapt their strategies accordingly. Meanwhile, established brands like Zalando will need to innovate and evolve to stay relevant in this ever-changing landscape.

Germans are demanding consumers who rarely make purchases based on emotions. The store chosen by the client should also offer a stable quality product at a price that is in line with it, in addition to providing a German-language website. For a long time, Germans will remain loyal to a brand if it meets their expectations. 

International success for German brands only confirms the German ideals of high quality and fair pricing.