E-Commerce Shipping Study (Germany): 2018 vs 2020

E-Commerce Shipping Study (Germany): 2018 vs 2020
Published on: Aug 1, 2020
Updated: Aug 18, 2022

We published the first E-Commerce Shipping Study in 2018 and wanted to know what has changed in terms of operations experience (OX) since then. As a result, we re-conducted the study, placing test orders with the top 100 retailers in Germany and analysing the data across checkout, shipping and returns.

E-commerce Shipping Study 2020 - German Edition

The E-Commerce Shipping Study 2020

parcelLab's E-Commerce Shipping Study 2020 examines the performance of the top 100 German online retailers in the areas of checkout, shipping and returns. The strengths, weaknesses and areas of improvement were identified in the analysis.


The study analysed the following:

  • What shipping options are there? 
  • What are the delivery costs?
  • Do the top 100 retailers communicate their delivery times?


We analysed the below during shipping:

  • Do the online retailers communicate with their customers during shipping and if so how?
  • What differences are there between the top 100 online shops? 
  • Do the online shops offer their customers same-day delivery and/or express delivery ? 


During returns, we analysed:

  • How are returns processed? 
  • Does the customer have to print out the return label themselves or does the online retailer include it directly in the package?
  • How long does the refund take?

E-Commerce Shipping Study 2018 vs. 2020 - Comparison of Results

A comparison of the E-Commerce Shipping Study 2018 and the E-Commerce Shipping Study 2020 shows that the desire for better customer experience has increased. But can online shops really fulfil this?

Click & Collect and Delivery Options

Those retailers offering Click & Collect has reduced from 41 to 33. This means that eight of the 100 largest German online retailers no longer offer their customers this option. This is surprising when you consider that Barclaycard found that 85 percent of customers buy additional items when they collect their parcel in store. The study additionally found that 42 percent of customers rely on Click & Collect services as they are out during the day. It will be interesting to see whether this changes post-Covid when life starts to return to normal.

Furthermore, the study found that the number of online shops in Germany who offer express delivery has dropped from 40 to 25. On the other hand, the punctuality of delivery has increased. In 2018, 48 shops delivered the parcel within the promised time and this number is now 65 in 2020.

Communication during delivery

The number of retailers who have taken back control of their shipping communication from third-party carriers such as DHL and Hermes has increased from 15 to 34. In addition, the amount of retailers sending more than four emails during shipping has risen from 20 to 32 in the 2020 study.


Retailers offering returns in store increased in the study from 10 retailers in 2018 to 20 in 2020.

The comparison at a glance: 2018 vs 2020

The results of the E-Commerce Shipping Study 2018 (left) vs. 2020 (right).


Although there have been some positive changes in the shipping process in the past two years, there is still room for improvement in terms of operations experience. Whether on the subject of Click & Collect, express delivery or returns processing, retailers need to take a closer look at their processes in order to provide an optimal operations experience.

What does this mean?

The customer journey does not end after the order has been dispatched. Sadly, many retailers forget this far too often and entrust their customer communication and handling to third-party carriers. As a result, they are losing valuable customer touch points and the potential to cross- and up-sell.

Would you like to see more insights from the 2020 E-Commerce Shipping Study? Download it directly here:

Written by


Create new reasons for people to love your brand. Build standout post-sales experiences tailored to your customers. Deliver personalized touch points that grab attention and spark loyalty.

Read more from parcelLab
More from the category Research