Shipping to Germany From the UK
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Germany is the third-largest ecommerce market in Europe and the fourth-largest economy in the world. This makes it an unmissable market for any UK business looking to expand its footprint in Europe.
It is also amongst the first major European economies to have emerged from the first wave of the global pandemic and has managed to re-fuel important industrial segments.
A population of 83.2 million makes Germany the largest consumer market in all of the European Union.
As citizens of an evolved and developed economy, Germans are discerning shoppers. This is why it is even more important for a British ecommerce business looking to sell in Germany to understand international shipping norms and practices.
Are you looking to send goods to loved ones or want to ship to customers in cities like Frankfurt, Berlin, Munich, or even a quaint rural town in Germany?
To plan shipping to Germany from the UK, this offers information on carriers, shipping costs, customs information, FAQs, and more.
Cost & delivery speeds for shipping to Germany from the UK
Navigating international shipping can be challenging for a cross-border business. To minimise the challenges, it is important to find the right carrier for your shipping needs.
Some businesses do not want to compromise on speed and are willing to pay a premium for it, while others look for more cost-conscious solutions and are flexible on delivery timelines. Other parameters such as parcel weight, customs support, etc. are also of value when choosing a suitable carrier.
Royal Mail, FedEx, UPS, Evri (The new Hermes), Parcelforce Worldwide, and DPD local are some of the top shipping companies that deliver to Germany from the UK. They offer a variety of services when shipping internationally.
Below is a table that showcases some of these services with applicable rates from these carriers. The costs here are indicative and subject to change.
Rates have been calculated using each carrier’s unique calculator for a standard example of a 2 kg package with a declared value of 50 GBP in June 2022. Final quotes may differ.
Note: These are general options for consumers’ shipping orders directly from a carrier’s store. To know what ShipBob offers when shipping to other countries like Germany, please request a quote here.
ShipBob’s exact rates for customers will vary as we charge an all-in ‘total fulfilment cost’ that includes picking, packing, and shipping, among other factors.
|Royal Mail||International Tracked||£11.80||3-5 business days|
|Royal Mail||International Economy||£14.25||3-5 business days|
|Royal Mail||International Standard||£11.70||3-5 business days|
|UPS||Standard||£12.19||3-5 business day|
|UPS||Express Saver||£14.57||1 business day|
|UPS||Express Plus||£55.57||1 business day|
|UPS||Express||£25.57||1 business day|
|FedEx||International Priority||£119.05||1 business day|
|FedEx||International Economy||£107.33||5 business days|
|FedEx||International Europe First||£112.94||1 business day|
|FedEx||International Priority Express||£119.05||1-3 business days|
|Evri||Evri Courier||£9.90||3-7 business day|
|Parcelforce Worldwide||globalpriority||£49.15||3+ business day|
|Parcelforce Worldwide||globalexpress||£90.30||1+ business days|
|Parcelforce Worldwide||globalvalue||£42.90||5+ business days|
|DPD local||Classic||£15.35||3-5 business days|
|DPD local||Air Express||£73.48||1-3 business days|
|DPD local||Air Classic||£39.53||3-5 business days|
*Prices for Parcelforce and DPD local are of the home pickup options. FedEx and Royal Mail home pickup options presently come at no additional cost. Also, the size of the parcel was taken as 45cm X 35cm X 16cm (L X W X H) for Evri and DPD local shipping options.
How to choose a shipping carrier
It is good practice to assess the merits and demerits of leading shipping companies before deciding on the ideal one for your international shipping needs.
To help you with the same below is a table with information on the pros and cons of major carriers shipping internationally from the United Kingdom to Germany.
Shipping to Germany from the UK with Royal Mail
True to its name, Royal Mail was originally an exclusive mail service for the Royals in the UK. It has however undergone a vast change in the 500 + years of its presence.
The Royal Mail postal service has been democratized over the years. It was made available and affordable for larger masses with unique solutions such as the Penny Black stamp.
This respected UK postal company has a network to deliver across 220 countries. There is a range of services offered when shipping from the United Kingdom to Germany.
International Tracked and Signed, International Tracked and International Standard are options offered that aim to deliver to Germany from the UK within 3-5 business days.
The difference lies in the trackability service offered with each option and also in the amount of compensation cover offered.
When to use Royal Mail to ship from the UK to Germany
It’s most suited when looking to ship lightweight packages economically such as documents, letters, books, etc. This is as the weight limit is capped at 2 kg. In some cases, such as printed documents (books, etc.) a weight limit of 5 kg may apply.
You may use Parcelforce Worldwide within its group network for packages of up to 30 kg.
Shipping to Germany from the UK with UPS
UPS is a global leader in shipping and operates in more than 220 countries and territories.
It began its operations in Europe in 1976 starting with Germany. Today, with more than 45 years in the region, it serves 56 countries and territories within Europe.
When shipping from the UK to Germany, UPS offers a bunch of shipping services such as Standard, Express, Express Saver, and Express Plus. All are competent choices and some are fairly cost-effective when compared with other carriers.
However, these services differ in delivery timelines. While Standard aims to deliver within 5 business days, Express, Express Saver, and Express Plus all aim to deliver within 1 business day. The difference in the Express options lies in the time of delivery.
When to use UPS to ship from the UK to Germany
If you are looking for a trusted global name that has a basket of solutions all within a cost-effective framework, UPS should be your carrier of choice.
It offers solutions such as next-day delivery, time-defined slots, money-back guaranteed options, a reliable tracking mechanism, a sizable package weight limit of up to 70 kg, etc. All these make it a credible choice when shipping from the UK to Germany.
It also has a dedicated platform for small businesses which has cost-effective solutions even for heavier packages.
Shipping to Germany from the UK with FedEx
A global leader in the transportation industry, FedEx has been present for over 35 years in Europe. It has capabilities to ship to over 220 countries and territories.
With a sound vehicle and air fleet within Europe, FedEx is a robust choice for a UK business looking to expand.
When shipping anywhere in Germany from the UK, FedEx offers a variety of choices. International Europe First, International Priority Express, International Priority, and International Economy are the options available.
The delivery timelines vary from delivering within one business day to five business days depending on the service opted for.
When to use FedEx to ship from the UK to Germany
Prompt delivery solutions and reliable tracking mechanisms are some of the key reasons to choose FedEx for your international shipping needs.
Do note that it is priced higher when compared with other carriers. The permissible weight limit though is at the higher end (up to 68 kg). Freight options are also available.
For ecommerce businesses, FedEx has devised special solutions such as FedEx International Connect Plus that come with services such as an account manager, increased cost efficiencies, and day-definite deliveries. It presently is available to service across 130 key international markets.
Shipping to Germany from the UK with DPD UK
DPD has a network to deliver across 230 countries and territories worldwide. It also has an unrivaled ground-based service in Europe making it a reasonable choice when shipping to Germany from the United Kingdom.
In addition to its ground-based services, DPD also offers Air Express options to deliver within Europe.
Its vast 6000 drop-off locations are dotted across the UK. These locations can be easily accessed by most of the UK’s population.
When to use DPD UK to ship from the UK to Germany
DPD provides its users with innovative solutions such as DPD Predict.
With this tool, recipients are provided with a delivery window of one hour so that they don’t wait around all day for their package deliveries. Additionally, all service options come with full trackability.
If you’re someone who likes to know the status of your shipments and wants a reliable name, DPD is a trustworthy choice.
Its efforts in the environmental sustainability space such as green packaging, building an all-electric fleet, etc. are also worth noting. These may be of significance to environmentally conscious ecommerce businesses.
Shipping to Germany from the UK with Evri (The new Hermes)
With roots in the UK that date back 45+ years, and a network to deliver to over 190 countries worldwide, Evri is a trusted logistics player. It has a nexus of 6000 parcelshops and lockers within the UK.
Evri aims to deliver all international packages within Europe in 3-7 working days. The maximum package weight limit is set at 15 kg.
As a business looking for shipping solutions, Evri’s list of prominent clients such as the UK’s top retail companies (ASOS, Next, and John Lewis), should further your confidence in its capabilities.
When to use Evri (The new Hermes) to ship from the UK to Germany
While all packages sent via Evri from the UK to Germany are tracked, collection and deliveries are not guaranteed.
If you are someone who likes cost-effective solutions but is flexible on delivery timelines, Evri would be a good choice for you.
Its vast drop-off network also adds to the convenience aspect.
Shipping to Germany from the UK with Parcelforce
Parcelforce Worldwide prides itself in being able to reach 99.6% of the world’s population.
Its vast network of drop-off points including 11,000 local Post Office branches within the UK makes it a convenient option for shipping to Germany from the UK.
A part of the Royal Mail Group, Parcelforce Worldwide can deliver to 240 countries and territories across the world.
When to use Parcelforce to ship from the UK to Germany
f ease and efficiency are what you are after, Parcelforce Worldwide with its vast drop-off point network, and a range of services including next-day deliveries, makes for a meritorious choice.
Services offered have built-in compensation covers ranging from £100 – £200. Package weight cannot exceed 30 kg for pick-up options and is 20 kg for post office drop-offs.
Duties & taxes when shipping to Germany from the UK
To protect its local industries and national economy, each country imposes duties and taxes on imports. This may differ depending on the country’s trade agreements with the country of export.
Owing to Brexit, the UK is not anymore a part of the EU single market. It means the trade benefits applicable to countries within the European Union are no longer extended to the UK.
Therefore, goods exported from the UK to Germany are subject to applicable customs and duties.
Since July 1, 2021, the former threshold of VAT exemption on imported goods in the EU, which was up to the value of €22, has been removed. Meaning, that all imported goods entering the EU are now subject to VAT.
For goods under the value of €150, if the online seller in the UK uses Import One Stop Shop (IOSS), the buyer will know the price of the goods including VAT at the time of purchase, and can easily avoid unwanted surprises.
However, if the seller has not registered with IOSS, the recipient will be asked to pay VAT and some clearance fee at the country of import i.e., Germany.
All goods over the value of €150 imported into Germany from non-EU countries are subject to VAT and customs duties. This is calculated by the German customs department.
The standard VAT applicable on goods in Germany is 19%. However, some categories such as newspapers, periodicals, paintings drawn by hand, etc. may attract a reduced rate of VAT at 7%.
Some goods like alcohol, tobacco, tobacco products, etc. may attract additional excise duties. Also, import of these is only allowed to users with necessary permits and certificates.
German customs information
On entering Germany, goods imported from the United Kingdom are subject to customs formalities. Post the articles have been presented to customs officials, a Summary Declaration is to be filed.
There may be a window provided to complete the Summary Declaration. However, it is not to exceed beyond the first working day post the goods were presented to the customs department.
Summary Declaration is completed either by the carrier, the importer or their representatives, or any person who assumes responsibility for the goods.
Within the EU, a Single Administrative Document is used as the importer’s declaration.
It carries information on the goods and their movement around the world. It is an essential document for the trade of non-EU goods in Germany.
It is an essential document used to evaluate both the customs duties and VAT. This declaration is usually made by the person clearing goods and customs, generally the importer or an agent of theirs.
To lodge the customs declaration, all companies outside of the EU are required to have an Economic Operator Identification and Registration (EORI) number.
Post the necessary formalities, duties and taxes have been addressed, the customs authority will release the goods for free circulation.
Customs information is subject to revisions and changes. It is advised to review the official website before shipping to avoid lapses. The German customs website can be accessed here.
Prohibited items when shipping to Germany
To protect the interests of its citizens and to uphold its values, each country limits or prohibits the entry of certain items.
Germany also prohibits many items from import and also, has a restriction on some. In addition to country-specific lists, each carrier has its own list of items it doesn’t ship.
Keeping yourself informed of these is advised to avoid unwanted delays and hold-ups.
Below are some items prohibited from import in Germany.
Items you can’t ship to Germany from the UK
|Stamps (fictitious), including dies and plates for manufacturing|
|Obscene or indecent material|
|Medication (including “over the counter,” nutritional supplements considered medication by Germany) except pharmaceutical traders/manufacturers with permits.|
|Counterfeit or pirated goods|
To keep yourself updated with the latest, it is a good idea to check the customs website before shipping as the lists and items are subject to change.
What ecommerce businesses need to know about shipping to Germany
Germany is an attractive market for ecommerce merchants as Germans are widely known to be confident online shoppers.
Also ranked as the best country for logistics in the world by the World Bank, Germany offers excellent delivery logistics.
Additionally, Germany is home to some of the world’s most iconic and famous trade shows, making it truly the place to be when it comes to exhibitions.
If you are looking to unlock and leverage what Germany has to offer, we’ve put together some insights to help you learn more about doing business the German way.
1. Trade it up
The concept of trade fairs was born in Germany many centuries ago. The country continues to live up to its legacy.
Germany hosts world-class events across almost all industries. As a business from the United Kingdom, it presents you with exciting opportunities.
Because of its truly global scale, you can expect to see the world’s best in your category and gauge competition.
It will also be a good place to assess customer interest and acceptance of your products/ideas as German trade fairs attract a large number of global customers. It can help you unlock new markets, unique trends, etc.
Since the Covid pandemic, many trade fairs have been put on hold or canceled, but with the re-opening of markets, hybrid models are likely to become a possibility.
It would be a good idea to understand the trade fair and exhibition calendar and prepare for it well in advance.
2. Prepare for mobile audiences
In a 2020 ecommerce payment trends report, it was found that mobile commerce constitutes 33% of total ecommerce sales in Germany.
Lighter and low-valued goods tend to see more mobile-driven sales. Therefore, categories such as fashion and books do well on mobile.
Bulky and more expensive items such as furniture, electronics, etc. are not so well received on this platform.
Interestingly, one in eight German consumers is already using voice commands to shop online. Given the fact that Germany has well-accepted voice searches and functionalities, it may be of merit to explore this segment for your customers.
Also, smartphone penetration in the younger population (18-34 years) is at 98%. Staying active on social media is important for an online B2C merchant as a bulk of younger audiences can be found on social channels.
Many social platforms are also experimenting with interesting new-age advertising and communication solutions for businesses here.
It’s only wise for an ecommerce business to consider being mobile-friendly seriously.
3. Returns management is important
Germany has the highest product returns rate in all of Europe. German customers returned a whopping 315 million packages in the year 2020.
If not approached appropriately, this can quickly become a problem and cost-center for any cross-border business.
Mitigate this by offering clear product descriptions and visual references wherever possible.
Build in the cost of a customer support channel (chat/call) to encourage customers to resolve queries before ordering to minimise the chances of returns.
4. Embrace an open invoicing system
Over 46% of European shoppers shopped for cross-border goods, whereas only 35% of Germans did the same.
This makes the German average for cross-border shopping lower than the European standard.
British goods tend to be amongst the top choices for cross-border shopping for Germans. But, given the scope of growth in cross-border sales, it is important to close gaps wherever possible to make the experience more seamless for your customers.
This is why embracing open invoicing may be important for your business to succeed in Germany.
Open invoicing is a post-purchase payment format where buyers receive goods or are allowed to return products before any payment is collected and made. These invoices are paid via bank transfers.
It is Germany’s most popular payment method and almost a third (28%) of the payments are made using this mode.
While the other payment methods such as cards and digital wallets are a must to be offered, it is of merit to consider open invoicing as a payment solution to win in this market.
5. Localize your communication efforts and packaging
While Germany ranks fairly high on the English proficiency index within Europe, the official language of business is German.
Labels are mandated to be translated into German. Certain food and textiles products may have specific labelling requirements.
It is therefore worthwhile for a UK business to consider localising its communication efforts.
Outsource shipping and logistics to a 3PL like ShipBob
To offer customers across the world a remarkable brand experience, consider partnering with an international 3PL like ShipBob.
Selling internationally can be challenging, time-consuming, and costly. But with ShipBob, you’re given everything you need to serve customers across the globe while saving time on logistics.
We not only take care of picking, packing, and shipping your orders to Dubai, we also offer upfront fulfilment costs that include customs, duties, and additional taxes.
By partnering with ShipBob, you eliminate the need to manage retail fulfilment, logistics operations, and hire labour.
The best part about partnering with ShipBob is you get time back to focus on more strategic initiatives, such as customer service and marketing.
“We’re not only leveraging ShipBob as a domestic partner, but a global one too. ShipBob is helping us expand internationally and navigate a lot of the technical kinks that come along with that growth.
No one will tell you that going global is easy. But we feel like our partnership has helped alleviate many of those pain points. ShipBob has demonstrated its commitment to our partnership by making the international fulfilment process easier for us.
We currently use ShipBob fulfilment centres in the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia. Global fulfilment is a huge need in the corporate gifting market and a necessity for our clients.
Aaron Patterson, COO of Ben Jablow, VP, Alliances at Postal
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Shipping to Germany FAQs
Read on to find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about shipping from the UK to Germany.
What’s the cheapest way to ship to Germany from the UK?
Evri (The new Hermes) provides some affordable options to ship to Germany from the UK. Collection and delivery however are not guaranteed. The package weight limit is a maximum of 15 kg.
What’s the cheapest way to ship large packages to Germany from the UK?
UPS offers flat-rate solutions for small businesses that ship to Germany from the UK for as low as £10.19. The weight limit is also a generous 70 kg.
For individual shippers sending goods to Germany from the UK, Evri (The new Hermes) offers economic solutions for packages weighing up to 15 kg.
What’s the fastest way to ship a package to Germany from the UK?
UPS, FedEx, and Parcelforce Worldwide all offer next-day delivery solutions when shipping from the UK to Germany.
Do I have to pay customs duties and fees when shipping to Germany from the UK?
Since Brexit came into effect, the UK is now treated as a non-EU country, and goods imported into Germany from the UK are subject to applicable VAT and customs duties.
A standard VAT of 19% is levied on all goods being imported into Germany. Some categories (convenience goods, day-to-day services, etc.) may attract a reduced VAT of 7%.
What’s the easiest way to ship something to Germany from the UK?
A sizable footprint of drop-off points, a built-in cost for full trackability in all options, and a reasonable weight limit of 30 kg make DPD local a convenient choice when shipping to Germany from the UK.