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E-Commerce Delivery in Germany: What do Delivery Companies Have to Offer?

Zach Blank


April 28, 2021

What are the factors that make an e-commerce company successful? Besides selling the right product and marketing for your target group, finding a delivery company compatible with the market demand is critical.

If you plan to expand your e-commerce business to Germany, and you are not familiar with the best parcel delivery companies available there, then don’t stop reading, this article was written exactly for you! We’ve collected the most efficient parcel delivery companies in Germany based on the range of their services, environmentally friendly shipping options, and an overview of their advantages and disadvantages.

To better understand the marketplace in Germany, let’s start with some facts about German consumer habits!

• Almost 20% of German consumers use pick-up points as a delivery method.
• Nearly 80% of Germans expect a maximum delivery time of three days
• About 60% of German consumers would leave an online shop due to expensive shipping costs.
• Over 35% of Germans would pay more to ensure environmentally-friendly delivery

Some of these insights are shocking, particularly that so many Germans leave their digital shopping carts at checkout because of high delivery costs. What’s more intriguing is that about one-third of German shoppers will pay extra for eco-friendly delivery services! Clearly there are opportunities for making gains by optimizing the delivery process.

Finding the perfect delivery service for your needs can significantly reduce your costs, improve sales, and boost customer satisfaction. Read on to see the bigger picture and make the best choice!

Top 5 parcel delivery companies in Germany

#1 DHL

The absolute market dominator is DHL, a division of the German logistic firm, Deutsche Post. In 2019, a new division called DHL Express was founded to attract online retailers by offering a worldwide coverage of express parcel and package services, along with shipping and tracking solutions with personal account management. With DHL Express, lightning fast shipping is available for small businesses.

The company is determined to control its environmental impact by updating its fleet to use alternative fuels. DHL aspires to convert 50% of its vehicles to use compressed natural gas in the next couple of years, and achieve zero-emissions logistics by 2050.


Depending on your expectations and the wide range of services already available at DHL, you can further personalize your offer by choosing a slow and cheap shipment plan or a fast and expensive one. If you choose DHL, every package is insured up to 500 euros and you can track the shipment anytime! Shipment tracking and delivery personalization can be attractive to internationally operating companies that grow exponentially faster than others.


Due to its many services and options, finding your ideal price plan can be a bit tricky. Also, in case of any problems, assistance can take a bit longer than usual.

#2 Hermes Group

Hermes Group is a Hamburg-based delivery company owned by one of the world’s largest e-commerce companies, Otto GmbH. The company was founded in 1972 and expanded to France and the United Kingdom between 1990 and 2000. While Hermes is a very strong competitor in Europe, shipping outside the continent is not possible.


You can track and insure your shipment similarly to DHL (up until 500 euros), and there is almost a 100 percent chance that your domestic deliveries will arrive within one day. Hermes offers certain B2B services (such as lowering the price after 300 shipments), so this model can be attractive to smaller companies.


Due to its inclusivity in Europe, it might not be the best choice for internationally active, large e-commerce companies. Although they initiated an environmentally conscious act in 2010, they are still far behind on the greenway compared to DHL.

#3 DPD

DPD Germany works under the wing of the French La Poste, the best-known and biggest logistic company in France, offering national and international express services. DPD has been shipping 100% climate-neutral since 2012 after establishing a sustainable development strategy under the name of “Driving Change”. Although its main market is Europe, it’s possible to ship to the USA and other countries like India, Brazil, and South Africa.


DPD’s delivery time is between 24 to 72 hours internationally, while a next-day delivery is guaranteed domestically. DPD has the simplest pricing policy with only 5 price classes, while each parcel is insured up to 520 euros. Plus, shipment tracking is included! We have to highlight its environmentally conscious approach and zero-emission policy. Congratulations on this achievement DPD!


Saturday deliveries could take extra money out of your pocket, as they incur high additional costs.

#4 GLS

GLS is the subsidiary of the British Royal Mail based in Amsterdam, operating within 41 European countries, 8 U.S. states, and 2 Canadian provinces. The ExpressParcel service allows parcel delivery to neighbouring countries within 24 to 48 hours, and to almost all countries at a larger distance, within 72 to 120 hours. GLS has been operating 100% climate-neutrally for the last 2 years and has planned further development since the announcement of the “KlimaProtect” action plan.


GLS has a very simple pricing system and parcel insurance is included up to 750 euros. The shipping time is usually 1 day within Germany and a maximum of 3 days within the EU.  


Compared to the previously mentioned companies, GLS has comparatively few pick-up points and only a few metropolitan areas for Saturday delivery. GLS also might not be the optimal choice for retailers with large shipping volumes. 

In 2016, hundreds of parcel delivery workers went on strike in the Italian cities of Bergamo, Brescia, Piacenza, Bologna, and Parma against GLS to protest against poor working conditions.

#5 UPS

UPS is the world’s largest shipping company with almost half a million employees and around 5.5 billion packages delivered per year worldwide. The Seattle-based company operates similarly to its competitors by aiming for climate neutrality, although zero-emission shipments cost 12 cents extra. 


UPS’s strong network around the world ensures fast and predictable delivery. Typical delivery time ranges between 1 or 2 business days, and parcel insurance costs $1.05 for each $100 of value of your parcel, up until 500 euros. 


Though they have shipping services to Europe and the rest of the world, UPS’s focus is mainly on the USA. There are fewer pick-up points compared to its rivals, and you might have to pay extra fees for Sunday delivery.

Choose the best available service!

By choosing the right parcel delivery company, your business is destined to grow! It guarantees that your deliveries arrive safe, secure, and on time while keeping your costs lower than ever. Convincing, right? To ensure short delivery times, drivers should use Straightaway to find the best routes available.

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Zach Blank

Zach is the co-founder and CEO of Straightaway.

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