We've decided to share our internal country fact sheets which give an introduction to the country background, economy and a few key dos and don'ts. A great starting point when planning a marketing campaign.
Marketing into Germany: B2B marketing country factsheet
TELEPHONE CODE: +49
What you will find in this document
Brief economy overview
Dos and don’ts
COUNTRY FACTSHEET: GERMANY
Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland) is a federal parliamentary republic in
western-central Europe. The country consists of 16 states, and its capital and largest city is Berlin. With 80.3 million inhabitants, it is the
most populous member state in the European Union. Germany is the major economic and political power of the European continent and
a historic leader in many theoretical and technical fields.
A region named Germania, inhabited by several Germanic peoples, was documented before AD 100. Beginning in the 10th Century,
German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 16th Century, northern German regions became the
centre of the Protestant Reformation while southern (most notably Bavaria) and western parts remained dominated by Roman Catholic
denominations marking the beginning of the Catholic–Protestant divide that has characterised German society ever since. Occupied
during the Napoleonic Wars, the rise of Pan-Germanism inside the German Confederation resulted in the unification of most of the
German states in 1871 into the German Empire, which was dominated by Prussia.
After the German Revolution of 1918–1919 and the subsequent military surrender in World War I, the Empire was replaced by the
parliamentary Weimar Republic in 1918, and some of its territory partitioned in the Treaty of Versailles. Despite its lead in many scientific
and artistic fields at this time, amidst the Great Depression, the Third Reich was established in 1933. The latter period was marked by
fascism and World War II. After 1945, Germany was divided by allied occupation, and evolved into two states, East Germany and West
Germany. In 1990, the country was reunified.
Germany has the world’s fourth-largest economy by nominal GDP and the fifth-largest by purchasing power parity. Subsequently, it is
the second-largest exporter and third-largest importer of goods. The country has developed a very high standard of living and features a
comprehensive system of social security, which includes the world’s oldest universal health care system. Germany has been the home of
many influential philosophers, music composers, scientists and inventors, and is known for its rich cultural and political history.
Munich / München
Cologne / Köln
Frankfurt am Main
Population (2010 estimate)
COUNTRY FACTSHEET: GERMANY
Since the age of industrialisation, the country has been a driver, innovator, and beneficiary of an ever more globalised economy.
Germany is a founding member of the EU, the G8 and the G20 and was the world’s largest exporter from 2003 to 2008. In 2011, it
remains the second largest exporter and third largest importer. It generates a trade surplus of $189.7 billion.
Germany is relatively poor in raw materials. Only lignite and potash salt are available in economically significant quantities. Power
plants burning lignite are one of the main sources of electricity in Germany. Oil, natural gas and other resources are, for the most part,
imported from other countries. Germany imports about two thirds of its energy.
The service sector contributes around 70% of the total GDP, industry 29.1%, and agriculture 0.9%. Most of the country’s products are in
engineering, especially in automobiles, machinery, metals, and chemical goods. Germany is the leading producer of wind turbines and
solar power technology in the world. The largest annual international trade fairs and congresses are held in several German cities such
as Hanover, Frankfurt, and Berlin. Combination of service-oriented manufacturing, R&D spending, links between industry and academia,
international cooperation and SME contribute to the overall competitiveness of the economy of Germany.
Of the world’s 500 largest stock market listed companies measured by revenue, the Fortune Global 500, 37 are headquartered in
Germany. In 2010 the ten largest were Volkswagen, Allianz, E.ON, Daimler, Siemens, Metro, Deutsche Telekom, Munich Re, BASF,
and BMW.Other large German companies include: Robert Bosch, ThyssenKrupp, and MAN (diversified industrials); Bayer and Merck
(pharmaceuticals); Adidas and Puma (clothing and footwear); Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank (banking and finance); Aldi, Lidl
and Edeka (retail); SAP (computer software); Infineon (semiconductors); Henkel (household and personal consumer products);
Deutsche Post (logistics); and Hugo Boss (luxury goods). Well-known global brands are Mercedes Benz, BMW, Adidas, Audi, Porsche,
Volkswagen, Bayer, BASF, Bosch, Siemens, Lufthansa, SAP and Nivea.
National public holidays
New Year’s Day
Easter Sunday -2 days
Easter Sunday +1 day
International Workers’ Day
Tag der Arbeit
Easter Sunday +39 days
Easter Sunday +50 days
German Unity Day 6
Tag der Deutschen Einheit
St Stephen’s Day/Boxing Day
Additional Regional holidays :
II 6th Jan – Epiphany (Heilige Drei Könige): Baden Würtenberg, Bavaria and Saxony-Anhalt
II Easter Sunday + 60 – Corpus Christi (Fronleichnam): Baden Würtenberg, Bavaria, Hessen, North Rine Westphalia, Rhineland-
Palatinate and Saarland
II 15th Aug – Assumption Day (Mariä Himmelfahrt): Saarland
II 31 Oct – Reformation Day (Reformationstag): Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia.
II 1st Nov – All Saints (Allerheiligen): Baden Würtenberg, Bavaria, North Rine Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland.
II Wed before 23rd Nov – Day of Repentance and Prayer 4 (Buß- und Bettag): Saxony
COUNTRY FACTSHEET: GERMANY
Sehr geehrter Herr (Dr.)
Location, + digit. + month + year
Eg: Berlin, 03. Januar 2013
Sehr geehrte Frau (Dr.)
Herr/Frau First name – Last name
Street name + house number
Postcode (6 digit) + Village/Town/City
Eg: Frau Sandra Schmidt
Hanauer Landstraße 126
60314 Frankfurt am Main
Dos and Don’ts
II Feel free to have serious discussions in social settings – Germans like talking politics and philosophy. They don’t relish idle chit-
chat or small talk and prefer to be direct
II Say your full or at least surname incl. your title at the beginning of a phone call, even if it’s followed by ‘do you speak English?’. If
calling from a company regarding business also say the company you are calling from
II Address people with the formal ‘you’ (Sie). If the familiar ‘you’ (Du) is cool, they’ll let you know
II There are suggestions that we can expect high response rates to invites however this can vary due to industry and roles targeted.
When they respond, they prefer to respond in writing (by post or fax). Therefore provide these traditional responses alongside
email, telephone etc
II Be late – everyone else will be on time
II Discuss personal matters during business negotiations, as this is considered to deviate from the task at hand
II Attempt to continue negotiations after a contract has been signed. Your German colleagues may view this with suspicion, which
could lead to an unsuccessful business agreement
II Use exaggerated or indirect communication styles during business meetings with your German counterparts. It creates an
impression of insincerity and dishonesty
II Don’t assume that Germany is a centralised country like France or England. It is a Federal state and as such each region enjoys a
great deal of autonomy and is culturally diverse (eg Bavaria is very different from Lower Saxony)
II Send unsolicited emails to Germany. By law a German contact needs to provide their approval to receive marketing emails