German online sales growth forecast revised up to 44 percent

BERLIN, Germany - German online sales will grow by a faster than expected rate of 44 percent in 2013 to 39.8 billion euros ($53.83 billion), or more than 9 percent of total retail sales, the country's e-commerce trade association BVH said on Tuesday.

BVH said it was raising its forecast after strong figures for the first nine months of the year. In February, it had predicted online sales growth of 21 percent to 33.5 billion euros.

E-commerce and mail order sales rose 26.7 percent in the third quarter to 11.6 billion euros, with clothes and shoes the most popular category, followed by books, audio devices and electronics, the trade association said in a statement.

Companies that are benefiting from booming e-commerce in Germany include Amazon.com Inc, mail-order giant Otto and online fashion retailer Zalando, as well as logistics companies like Deutsche Post DHL.

The Media-Saturn electronics chain of German retailer Metro has seen its sales hit by e-commerce as it was late to go online, but is now seeing that part of its business growing fast.

Online retail sales in Europe are seen doubling by 2018 to 323 billion euros, market research firm Mintel forecasts.

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