Just two and a half decades ago, it was impossible to get food or medicine transported from one side of the city of Berlin to the other — no matter how long people tried. Now, the residents of Germany’s capital — both East and West — will be able to get just about whatever they want in two short hours.
At least that’s the scoop from German newspaper Welt, which was quoted by Reuters as reporting that Amazon is set to begin express on-demand deliveries in Berlin sometime in May. Anonymous transportation services told Welt that they would be contracted by Amazon to handle the last-mile deliveries, and rumors are also circulating that Amazon has begun refitting a building on the Kurfuerstendamm, Berlin’s main avenue, to the specifications it requires all its fulfillment warehouses stateside to have.
Reuters was unable to reach Amazon for comment, but Welt succeeded in pulling this quote from a spokesperson: “We have no announcement about this at the moment.”
While Amazon has shown interest in expanding into markets that haven’t quite experienced native eCommerce booms, German consumers most certainly fit into the demographic of big digital spenders. According to Statista, 2016 is expected to generate nearly $82.93 billion from online sales alone — not bad for a country of only about 80 million people. By next year, that number could grow to $91.97 billion and again to just under $100 billion by 2018.
No wonder Amazon wants to get its German customers their orders as fast as possible. The more time it wastes, the more opportunities it creates for customers to seek out more native, familiar and possibly reliable sources instead. Never one to let its competitors remain unchallenged for long, Amazon is likely to hit the ground running — or however it can transport packages the fastest — when it expands the service to Berlin in May.